The new Friesenbrücke over the Ems near Weener will in the future be available for train traffic for at least 20 minutes per hour. This will not only allow trains to cross the bridge on a daily basis, but even create room for an extra express train. This is the result of a meeting between the German State Secretary of Traffic, Provincial Executive Member of Traffic and Transportation Fleur Gräper-van Koolwijk, local authorities of Leer and Papenburg, the railway company Deutsche Bahn and the Meyer Werft shipyard. The bridge is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2024.
In December 2015 the Friesenbrücke near Weener was rammed by a ship, thus halting all train traffic between Groningen and Leer. Ever since, there has been discussion about the new substitute bridge. Initially, the intention was to allow trains to have limited access to this new bridge, because the ships of the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg also needed to be able to pass it easily – by water that is. This however proved to be conflictive with the plans of the Province of Groningen in its ambition to improve the railway connection between Groningen and Bremen. The new solution takes the wishes regarding both railway traffic as well as shipping traffic into account. Provincial Executive Member Gräper is quite content with the achieved solution. “I’m glad that a decision has finally been made regarding this matter and that all parties are content with it.” The new bridge is meant to be safer than its predecessor, thus decreasing the chance of a new collision even more.