Black, black Saturday – Hot lap Nurburgring

A run down of the downs and ups of this weekend’s holiday traffic. The Nurburgring gets ready for its first tourist drives later this month. German motoring club ADAC says it can save you money on breakdown cover, including in the UK, and D-Day commemorative driving routes feature in the latest Brittany Ferries magazine.

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BLACK, BLACK SATURDAY.

Predictably horrendous holiday traffic but with some interesting exceptions.

Holidaymakers heading for the mountains this weekend faced some long delays. Others however almost got away with it completely.

Holidaymakers heading for the mountains this weekend faced some long delays. Others however got away with it completely.

The first day of half term school holidays in France, Belgium and parts of Germany meant Saturday was always going to be challenging on the roads. It was almost impossible for us to keep up early on.

French traffic site Bison Fute gave traffic heading from Paris to the Alps the highest ‘black’ rating – hence the name Black Saturday – and red, one step down, for traffic coming back the other way.

Curiously however there were no long jams on the A6 Paris to Lyon all day. The worst queues were past Lyon on the A43 to Chambery with delays of three hours in the morning, the longest since New Year.

Next worst was N90 in the mountains, both ways into Moutiers, with delays of well over ninety minutes at its height in both directions.

Notably, the A40 westbound towards Geneva was very busy but the traffic kept moving, and it was the first major road to quieten down. @Scott_Evans left Paris at 11:00 and arrived in Geneva at 17:45, not bad under the circumstances. But for a late morning accident on the A39 at Dole it would have been even quicker.

From the south, the end of the A51 northbound towards Gap continues to be a bottleneck.

Apart from N90, and connecting roads north from A51, the action was all over by mid-afternoon in France, and with no noticeable delays in the return direction. Heavy cross border traffic from Germany to Austria, however, as ever, continued all day.

Munich to Innsbruck both ways was jammed almost solid – i.e. traffic was mostly moving – from the get go and didn’t start to quieten down until mid-late afternoon. Meanwhile the A7/B179 Fernpass crossing, southbound between Germany and Austria, didn’t see queues of less than 90 minutes until the evening.

Its neighbouring border point, A95/B2 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which normally vies with Fernpass for the biggest queues, was quiet until mid-afternoon when long queues developed. They disappeared though well before the ones on Fernpass.

Elsewhere in Austria, the S16/A14 in the west, to and from the Lake Constance/Bregenz border, was consistently crowded though delays were not severe.

Apart from the road works on the A22 north of Bolzano, and southbound from the Austrian border to Vipiteno, Brennero was relatively clear all day.

The happy by-product of the school holidays of course is that roads should be quieter this week. Enjoy it while you can. Next Saturday will see the same all over again.

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Hot lap Nurburgring: laying a new surface at the Green Hell Nordschleife ahead of it reopening to tourist drives on 16 March. Photo via @nuerburgring_de. Also see www.nuerburgring.de

Hot lap Nurburgring: laying a new surface this week at the Green Hell Nordschleife ahead of its reopening for tourist drives on 16 March. Photo via @nuerburgring_de. Also see www.nuerburgring.de

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roundup: BREAKDOWN COVER. Check out the latest offer from the German motoring club ADAC. It could save you money according to @AGTLAW and includes AA cover in the UK. D-DAY. Drive the commemorative routes of the D-Day landings as featured in Brittany Ferries new in-house magazine.

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