The Waldschlösschen Bridge (Waldschlößchenbrücke) is a planned bridge across the river Elbe in Dresden. The bridge is supposed to remedy inner city traffic congestion. Its construction is highly controversial, as the Dresden Elbe Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site and UNESCO has expressed strong concerns against the bridge, noting the intent to withdraw the World Heritage title if the bridge is built. As a result of this project, the Dresden Elbe Valley has been listed since 2006 as "Endangered World Heritage Sites" (one of the two in Europe, the Medieval Monuments in Kosovo being the other one).
Although plans to build a bridge at this particular place have existed for a century, in 1996 in line with a revised traffic model the City Council Dresden agreed on the project. After almost eight years of preparation for the process of obtaining planning permission, a public referendum on whether to build the bridge was held in 2005. This resulted in a majority voting for the bridge, yet the City Council stopped the plans in April 2006 following the UNESCO complaint. In March 2007, at a legal hearing, the Sächsisches Oberverwaltungsgericht (the administrative high court for the Freestate of Saxony) ruled in favour of the planned bridge. The court's ruling, following the objection by the government of the state of Saxony to the City Council Dresden having stopped the plans after the UNESCO complaint, has been described by Vice President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Thierse as "a sad day for Germany".
Construction stalled after an administrative court ruled in August 2007 that steps needed to be taken to ensure that the endangered lesser horseshoe bat was protected; it is possible that only around 650 remain in Germany, with some living near the site of the proposed bridge. German courts ruled in November 2007 that work could again proceed.