Transport infrastructure is shaped by demand – in the time of the Iron Curtain, as a result of limited border traffic, bridges and border crossings were removed and reduced to a minimum. Nowadays, these traffic bottlenecks and dead-end roads are being reworked and expanded within the border region and new streets are being constructed.
Over a hundred years ago, the Vienna–Bratislava route took about 2 hours by local railway, which at that time was run as a tram. Today, it is the S7 rapid transit train that covers this route along the Danube. The travel time has been reduced by half but there is still potential to make it even shorter! The current railway connections via Marchegg and Kittsee are longer, partially single tracked, and not continuously electrified. Now, the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), the Ministry of Transport of the Slovak Republic and the Slovak Railways are jointly planning the development of the Vienna–Marchegg–Bratislava route within the framework of the Twin City Rail project. Thus, in a few years, the train ride between Vienna and Bratislava will become even shorter.
Austria and Slovakia share a natural border, the Morava River. It is hard to believe that a hundred years ago, there more bridges over this river than today. As a measure to facilitate the exchange of cattle and goods between the two countries, numerous passages and crossings were built during the Habsburg Monarchy. At its pinnacle (in the late nineteenth century) there were 5 bridges, 3 boat crossings and 5 fords, almost all of which were destroyed during the Second World War and in the following years.
The only remaining railroad bridge was in Marchegg and for a number of years it represented the only connection between Austria and Slovakia. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, a floating bridge between Hohenau and Moravský Svätý Ján was constructed in 1991. This bridge was reconstructed as a steel bridge in 2004 through funding provided by the CBC program Interreg/Phare. Additionally, a ferry has run between Angern and Záhorská Ves since 1999.
The “Freedom Bridge“, constructed as part of the EU funding program Slovakia-Austria 2007–2013 under the project name Cyclomost II , was inaugurated in September 2012. This cycle bridge now connecting the communities of Schlosshof and Devínska Nová Ves was built over the remains of a stone bridge once meant for horse-drawn carriages, built in 1771. Thanks to this bridge and the active cooperation of both regions, the number of visitors is growing. In 2013 the tourist office in Devínska Nová Ves recorded an increase of 300 percent!
Ever since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Morava River border crossings have been the topic of discussion, media reports, bilateral declarations of intent, and planning. The feasibility of two bridge locations was precisely examined. The AnzaMost project effected the detailed planning of the Angern–Záhorská Ves location, but local approval is not currently widespread. Thus, for the time being, the only street bridge remains the Moravský Svätý Ján–Hohenau bridge. However, this bridge is closed on average 40 days a year due to floodings. The project BBMH reviewed the viability and affordability of flood protection measures for the existing bridges, but the construction solutions required by nature and flooding protection standards are rather costly. From today’s perspective, implementation in the follow-up program (2014–2020) is thus improbable.