Towpath damages caused by roots are most significant since they increase the fall risk for cyclists and with that the liability risk for the company. Furthermore, the continual maintenance works on the towpaths are expensive and bound to be carried out in the low season for cyclists, in order not to disturb the bicycle traffic.

In the course of this project, and in cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU Vienna), possibilities to reduce root damages to towpaths were elaborated. 

Module 1 involved basic (literature) research on the subject of root damages to asphalt. 
The modules 2 and 3 comprised of small- and large-scale field studies. In Aschach, Ottensheim, Wallsee and Tulln large-scale tests were conducted at the existing towpaths. The establishment of an experimental garden with trial plots and their analysis provided additional insights.  
The continuous monitoring of the trial areas (soil sampling, ground radar readings for the detection of roots prior to actual damages to the asphalt, etc.) revealed two major, combinable approaches to the problem of root damages: 

1. The preventive grooming and care of riparian woodland  by viadonau´s Mobile Services (e. g. pruning at certain times of the year, etc.) is minimally-invasive and takes into account ecological aspects.

2. Towpath stretches in need of restoration receive cement stabilisations  in the course of their rehabilitation. This changed pavement structure should protect the towpaths from further damage. 

The detailed findings and (maintenance) guidelines were edited in module 4, in order to optimally support viadonau´s mobile services in their maintenance and rehabilitation tasks. 


  • BOKU Wien (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) – Institute of Soil Bioengineering and Landscape Construction (IBLB)


January 2015 - December 2017
The project is already concluded.

The activity made a substantial contribution to the implementation of measure 07. Increase the quality of berthing places and towpaths along the riverbanks of the Action Programme for the Danube 2022.