Around 85% of Cologne’s historical archive has been recovered from the wreckage of the archive building that collapsed in March.
Salvage workers have reached ground water level. This week discussions about how the remaining documents below ground water level can be recovered were underway.
The six storey archive building and two neighbouring residential buildings collapsed into a deep excavation for a new subway on 3 March, killing two people. The accident also buried around 65,000 documents, the oldest of which dates back to 922.
Retaining wall failure
The building collapsed when a retaining wall for a subway line excavation in front of the building gave way (NCE 12 March 2009). The subway work was being carried out by a joint venture of Bilfinger Berger, Weiss & Freytag and Züblin for the Cologne transport authority.
Investigations into why the retaining wall failed are still ongoing.