On 24 July 2003, the former minister for public works, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges (CSV), inaugurated the new motorway linking Luxembourg to the Saarland in Germany. The infrastructure project cost more than €292m. A year later, the Frisange slip road was completed, along with the entire section of the A1 linking the Bettembourg exchange and Perl across the border. However, it is only 17 and a half years later that it is finally about to open.
The decision by the court of appeal could bring an end to a legal battle between the state and Fernand Friederich, a farmer who says he owns the land on which the bypass was built. At the end of two agreements, which were never executed, he was offered an exchange of land and about €1,000 in 1996, before another deal for the acquisition of other land. Despite various proposals from the state, the farmer and his son Georges stuck to their guns.
The courts had already ruled in favour of the government in the first instance, validating the two agreements and denying various requests from the farmer. He then appealed. His request was unsuccessful, according to the ministry of public works, which cited the court of appeal’s ruling of 16 December 2021.
“For us, the decision is final,” the ministry said. The roads and bridges administration must now “evaluate possible maintenance work, such as renewal of the surface, repairs to be made or plants to be removed.”
Since 2003, the road has not been used and therefore not maintained. A precise timetable for the opening "cannot be defined at this time,” the ministry said but works on the assessment of damage won’t begin until the spring, after the last frost. In the meantime, motorists from Frisange and Évrange must continue to take a diversion to reach the A13 towards Mondorf-les-Bains, Schengen or Perl.
When contacted, Friederich’s lawyer, Gaston Vogel, refused to comment on the case, citing “professional secrecy”. The farmer’s son’s lawyer, Marc Theisen, had not yet responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.