Upgrade of the Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen: Study

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Upgrade of the Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen: Study for design, approval planning and public consultation within the frame of the planning approval procedure for subsection 1 (Straubing–Deggendorf)

Posted by Viktoria Weissenburger, Tuesday, 11th July 2017 @ 11:54 am

Basic  project  data

Project ID: PA1A122
Project website: www.lebensader-donau.de

Need  and  added  value  for  the  Danube  Region  Strategy

The German federal waterway Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen in Lower Bavaria is a major bottleneck of the Trans-European Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube inland waterway axis in particular with regard to draught. While the rest of the waterway axis has been adapted to 2.5 m draught almost all year round, this value is only attainable 144 days per year for the (free flowing) section from Straubing to Vilshofen due to alternating water levels. In low water periods only 1.6 m draught (or less) is possible.

A variant study (conducted 2008-2013) compared the two remaining variants (named A and C2.80) regarding impacts on navigation and environment in order to provide a secure basis for an informed political decision. At the same time, the existing flood protection system has to be enhanced up to a 100-year-event in due consideration of interdependencies relating to waterway development.
Policy-makers finally decided to develop the critical sector from Straubing to Vilshofen according to variant A by implementing solely river regulation measures (i.e. without lock/storage) and to immediately realize flood protection measures. Therefore, two projects (navigation and flood protection) were set up and two subsections were defined for the waterway upgrading project: Straubing - Deggendorf (subsection 1) and Deggendorf - Vilshofen (subsection 2).

(c) German Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure; adaptations by viadonau

Upgrading both subsections is part of the overall development in order to improve navigation conditions in the existing bottleneck between Straubing and Vilshofen (and thus on the entire TEN-T axis) and to simultaneously enhance flood protection. The fairway is developed to increase draught by at least 0.2 m at low navigable water level (RNW). This would correspond to fairway depths of 2.20 m. Moreover, fairway maintenance, sediment management (incl. progressive bed erosion), safety and ease of shipping (incl. nautical difficulties and naval hazard spots) are to be optimized. Concerning flood prevention, the existing level of protection is to be increased from about HQ30 to HQ100.

Objective(s)  of  the  project

This overall study laid out the necessary preconditions to obtain the construction permissions and budget approvals for the upgrading of subsection 1 Straubing-Deggendorf. It essentially involved planning works and the drawing up of documents in preparation of the building project. This included the draft and approval planning for section 1, Straubing–Deggendorf. Objectives of both projects (navigation and flood protection) have to be achieved pari passu in a coordinated technical planning in combination with a suitable landscape management plan. That means an interactive, interdisciplinary and iterative planning procedure of engineering and ecological measures to fulfil the technical targets was necessary. Therefore, all relevant documents to obtain the required building and financing permissions had to be prepared.

Additionally, all measures and expenditures concerning public relation and public participation were included. Plan-related public information at an early stage considerably increases project acceptance. Obligations and responsibilities under environmental law include public and stakeholder involvement. Planning approval procedures under public law therefore contain announcement, display, consultation, review, and debate of the plan which is an essential element in the administrative hearing procedure to obtain building permission.

Conducted  project  activities

  • Preparation and completion of draft as well as approval planning documents:
    • Technical planning: Waterway development and design of flood protection measures
    • Landscape management planning: Environmental impact assessment in compliance with European and national legislation (e.g. Water Framework Directive, Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive, Conservation of Wild Birds Directive, Federal Nature Conservation Act incl. Species Protection) to prevent, minimize, and finally compensate all unavoidable aquatic or terrestrial impacts
    • Technical modelling (above all numerical simulations): hydrodynamic, hydrological, morphologic, and groundwater modelling
    • Identification of affected issues (e.g. agricultural/forestry concerns, hunting/fishery purpose, property and ownership) and consideration of personal, municipal and regional interests when indicated
    • Submission of final documents to the competent bodies
  • Public participation during planning approval procedure: Public consultation/hearing, i.e. statements/objections as regards the plan made by public agencies, associations or affected private persons were to be reviewed, in some cases analysed in detail, discussed in debates, and commented on to provide an informed deliberation
  • Public relations work and Project information: All measures and expenditures to provide public information during all project phases, like information centre in Deggendorf, information pavilions along the Danube, internet presence (www.lebensader-donau.de), film, flyer, press releases, official announcements, miscellaneous informative meetings in towns and municipalities, co-ordination meetings with agencies i.a.

Transboundary  impact

The improvement of shipping conditions in the existing bottleneck from Straubing to Vilshofen has positive effects for the entire Trans-European Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube inland waterway axis. It serves to support an eco-friendly mode of transport, the merging of south-eastern European states with the rest of the EU (interconnection between Black and North Sea), and, as far as possible, the unobstructed transport of goods within the EU.

Transboundary environmental impact assessment between Austria and Germany according to Espoo convention (inure 1997) with focus on possible negative downstream flood effects.

Project  beneficiaries  /  target  groups

As the transport of goods on the waterway Rhine-Main-Danube has an international and long-distance character, a wide range of stakeholders relating to the European transport will benefit from the waterway subproject.

Population, industry, material assets, and agriculture along the Danube in Lower Bavaria will gain a higher safety standard with regard to flood hazard.

status  and  timeframe

Start date: 04/2013
End date: 12/2015
The project is already concluded.


Total budget: 7,800,000 EUR
EU funds: 3,900,000 EUR were funded by TEN-T Multi-Annual Programme 2007 - 2013  
(max. 50 % funding rate for studies)
National funds: 3,900,000 EUR

Project  team

Project leader: Project promoters/sponsors are the Federal Republic of Germany and the Free State of Bavaria, both represented by RMD Wasserstraßen GmbH. Steering group to monitor work and to coordinate/clarify fundamental issues composed of competent authorities of the Federal (State) government of Germany (Bavaria) as well as representatives of RMD.

Project partners:

  • Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, subordinate body of the Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
  • Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Transport
  • Bavarian Water Resources Management Administration, subordinate body of the Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection
  • RMD Wasserstraßen GmbH

Contact: RMD Wasserstraßen GmbH (website: www.rmd-wasserstrassen.de)
Address: Blutenburgstraße 20, 80636 München / Germany

Project  environment

Project  Cross - Reference

Preceding project (2008 - 2013): Upgrade of the Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen: Variant-independent investigation on the development of the Danube waterway between Straubing and Vilshofen (PA1A030)
Follow-up project (2015 - tbd): Upgrade of the Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen: Pursuing Variant A (PA1A161)

Strategic  reference

  • Part of Priority Project 18 of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T)
  • Recommendations of the Danube Commission

Relevant  legislation

  • Water Framework Directive
  • Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive
  • Conservation of Wild Birds Directive
  • TEN-T Regulation (TEN-T Guidelines)
  • Espoo Convention 1997
  • “Duisburger Vertrag” 16.09.1966 &
  • “Donaukanalisierungsvertrag” 21.07./23.07./11.08.1976
  • Federal Waterway Act
  • Federal Water (Resources) Act
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Act
  • Federal Nature Conservation Act
  • Administrative Procedures Law
  • Bavarian Compensation Regulation

Eusdr  embedding


eusdr  compliance


Other  Relevant  Issues

Follow - up  Project

Upgrade of the Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen: Pursuing Variant A

Germany and Bavaria agreed on the realization of Variant A aiming to increase the possible draught loaded at low navigable water level by 20cm, from 1.60m to 1.80m, and the number of days per year with an effective draught of 2.50m by 56 days to 200 days/year. (This would correspond to fairway depths of 2.20m.)

In a first step urgent flood prevention measures and selected activities of Variant A will be realized in the section from Straubing to Deggendorf. In the course of the works 122 groynes and 10 longitudinal structures are being adapted and 67 groynes and 8 longitudinal structures will be newly constructed. Dredging works amount to 450,000 m³. Total costs of 208 million Euros are financed nationally (Bundesverkehrswegeplan). Costs amount to 460 million Euros including additional flood protection measures. The technical design for the approval was financed under TEN-T. The planning approval is still pending.

Meta  data

Data provided by: Andreas Fischer (RMD, Germany) - 19.10.2016
Last update based on Rhine Danube Corridor Study (via donau, Austria) - 03.07.2017

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