Mess in Rothrist AG even bigger
Sliding slope already moving in 2021!
The cantonal road in Rothrist AG, where there was a landslide a week ago, remains closed: the forest continues to move. Nobody knows if more will happen. Pictures now show that there was an incident there in 2021 that the canton was not aware of.
Published: 5 minutes ago
This image is dated August 4, 2021: Clear cracks can be seen on the slope below the property.
Ralph Donghireporter news
These are impressive images that Blick has. You can see: The slope between a new building and a cantonal road in Rothrist AG, which started to slide on January 10th and buried the road, was already in motion in 2021. And how! The photos show that there was demolition at the house, including deep cracks in the ground and fallen trees. In addition, specialists were on site.
Hans Rudolf Sägesser (57, FDP), the responsible municipal councilor, who previously only spoke of a landslide at the end of May 2022 and the recent slide, confirms the incident: “Covering measures had already been taken in 2021.”
Canton did not learn anything about the first incident
Only: Did the municipality report this incident to the canton so that it can be identified as a slip slope on the hazard warning map? “We were never informed of an event that is said to have taken place on the affected slope in 2021,” says Elizabeth Jacobs, specialist in raw materials and geology from the Department of Environment Canton Aargau. And: “As a building permit authority, in this case the municipality, you are obliged to report obvious hazard warnings and, if necessary, to have them clarified, otherwise you will be held liable.” You only found out about it “after such an incident occurred in May 2022”.
After that, an external office was commissioned by the canton to assess the danger to the cantonal road that borders the forest. Jacobs: “This assessment of July 23, 2022 with regard to landslides was assessed as low, which means that no measures need to be taken in principle.” As a basis, another geological-geotechnical report from July 20, 2021 on the landslide below the superstructure was consulted, “which was prepared at the time on behalf of the client”.
What does the local council know?
When asked by the municipal council of Sägesser about the non-reporting of the landslide in 2021, the latter dodged: “Whether and if at all by whom the canton was informed, is not clear to me.” Shouldn’t he know this? It was he who said the land’s owners were urged to take action after the 2022 landslide. He remains: “I have something in writing in my hands.” He doesn’t want to present it.
Only Bruno Eggenschwiler (89), the ex-owner of the land on which the new property is located, spoke of the landowners. He said he never received a call for action. Nothing happened to him for 55 years.
Client could bring light into the darkness
The question remains as to the role of the builder who bought the old house in 2015. “It can be assumed that an expert opinion on the subsoil was created during the new construction,” explains Canton specialist Jacobs. Whether the slope was assessed as endangered should be clear from the report.
However: Such an assessment is not binding. “That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have built there,” says Jacobs. However, it would have to be built according to all the rules of architecture.
The client could bring light into the darkness. But his lawyer only says: “The investigations are still ongoing.”
Kantonsstrasse remains closed
According to Sägesser, the road closure could last until the end of the week. Reason: “You can see that the slope is still in motion.” The problem is the rain and that you don’t know exactly what’s coming down.
It is quite possible that the responsible insurance company is also interested in this history of the slope when it comes to paying for the whole mess.