MAIRHOFER
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26.7.1842 Innsbruck/A - 21.7.1909 Innsbruck/A
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Johann Mairhofer entered the public works office of Tyrol and Vorarlberg in 1865 once having completed engineering studies at Vienna Technical University. After works in his hometown and in today's Merano, he was transferred to Rivers Rhine and Etsch to investigate their hydraulics, hydrology and characteristics of soils. Following the large floods in today's Trentino in 1882, Mairhofer was asked to improve both main roads and the river course of Adige. Following these successful works, he was promoted to k.k. Baurat, and he continued works at the headquarters in Innsbruck. From 1890 to 1907 he was thus at the forefront of organizing the large changes of River Rhine along the Austrian-Swiss border, close to Lake of Constance. The appointment to Oberbaurat and deputy director of the office followed in 1904, and he was awarded the Order of the Iron Crown of the third class in 1907, following his retirement. He passed away due to a serious illness only two years later.
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The Alpine Rhine River upstream from Lake of Constance had been for centuries a source of disaster and floodings. The Rheintal Valley was a part of Switzerland, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein. In 1892, Austria and Switzerland agreed to counter this constant threat in an international agreement extending over 25 km. It included the Fussacker diversion channel with a reduction of river length by 7 km thereby cutting the meanders upstream from the lake, and the Diepoldsau diversion channel with a route shortening of 3 km. Mairhofer contributed to the design and the execution of the Fussacker diversion channel during the years 1895 to 1900, while the Diepoldsau cut was executed from 1897 to 1923 mainly by the Swiss Jost Wey (1843-1908). Next to these river engineering works, the entire project included also the improvements of the Rhine estuary of Lake Constance, the inland waterways with the old River Rhine watercourse, and recently the ecological planning of the entire Alpine Rhine Valley. This river course was also the origin for detailed observations of the sediment transport commenced in the 1930s by Eugen Meyer-Peter (1883-1969) and concluded with the Meyer-Peter-Müller sediment transport formula in 1948.
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Anonymous (1909). K.k. Oberbaurat a.D. Johann Mairhofer. Österreichische Wochenschrift des Öffentlichen Baudiensts 15(41): 592. P
Beger, X., Binder, Y. (1972). Die Korrektion des Rheins im Gebiete von Österreich und der Schweiz. Allgemeine Bauzeitung 37: 134-141; 37: 152-181; 37: 366-385.
Minor, H.-E., Hager, W.H., eds. (2005). River engineering in Switzerland. Stäubli: Zurich.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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