The German road works season kicks off with a major refurb of the A7 Elbtunnel in Hamburg but there’s plenty of work going on in other parts of the country this spring too (map).
The end of the school half term holidays across Europe at least means the roads will be quieter at the weekends – unless there’s a heat wave (or late snow).
However, now that winter’s over, it means road works can kick off in earnest. As ever, the major action takes place in Germany.
Today sees the start of a large scale refurbishment of the Elbtunnel on the A7 in Hamburg. Until Friday 11 July drivers should expect long delays as each of the tubes are closed in turn.
As well as being a very busy commuter road – the lanes switch direction for the morning and evening rush hours – the 2.6km, four bore, eight lane tunnel, under the River Elbe just to the west of the city centre, is on one of the main routes between Western Europe and Scandinavia.
For the time being, especially during peak times, the disruption probably tips the balance in favour of the A1 and the Puttgarden-Rodby ferry.
Work will be halted between 17 April and 9 May for Easter, and 5-9 June for Pentecost, but otherwise only five lanes will be open until 17 April, and then only four until 11 July.
Drivers elsewhere in Germany will hardly be spared however. According to motoring organisation ADAC, the following stretches will see the bulk of road works this spring:
A23 Hamburg–Heide, A7 Kassel-Hannover–Hamburg.
A1 Cologne–Dortmund, A4 Aachen–Cologne, A45 Giessen-Hagen–Dortmund and A61 Mönchengladbach–Koblenz.
A3 Nuremberg–Würzburg, A5 Heidelberg–Darmstadt, A6 Heilbronn–Nuremberg, A7 Ulm–Würzburg and A8 Karlsruhe-Stuttgart–Munich.
The works are all scheduled to finish before the summer (German road works are good value, but they have the reputation for over-running). We’ll keep our eye on them to see how they affect journey times.