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Germany counts the cost of damage

REPAIRS TO Germany's rail infrastructure following this summer's floods will take two and a half years and cost close to US$850M, the government said this week.

Engineers were still assessing damage to high speed and branch lines in Dresden and the surrounding Saxony region, but in several areas line and ballast has been washed away entirely, said a German Ministry of Transport & Construction communications spokesman.

Several bridges have been lost and many more weakened, the spokesman reported. Signalling, power, points and control rooms will also need to be extensively overhauled or replaced.

Repairs to German roads is so far estimated at US$195M, but the bill is expected to rise as further assessments are carried out.

One major road bridge and four smaller structures on Saxony's primary road network have been lost. Pavement has been undermined or swept away, cutting off some areas of the country.

Electricity and clean water supplies were knocked out, and wastewater treatment works put out of operation.

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