Major rescue operation on one of Germany’s busiest roads at the start of the Christmas getaway weekend.
One lane of the northbound A7 at Gottingen reopened this morning three days after one of Germany’s busiest motorways shut both ways due to a major chemical spill.
The carriageway on the southbound section has been re-laid and should re-open this evening (now fully open).
A truck carrying eighty barrels of aluminium phosphide (AIP) crashed through the central reservation on Friday morning.
A 25 year old car driver was killed in the incident. His female passenger, and the truck driver, were seriously injured.
Only six of the barrels were damaged but the escaped pesticide – commonly used as rat poison – reacted with rain water to release highly toxic phosphine gas.
Local residents were warned to stay inside and close all windows. No other injuries were reported.
In what has been described as ‘one of the largest and longest running fire-fighting operations in recent years’, it took 170 hazmat suited rescue workers until 17:00 on Saturday to bring the situation fully under control.
The timing could hardly have been worse. Friday was the first major getaway day for the Christmas holidays.
Under the circumstances – with few other alternative routes available, other than through the centre of the historic university city of Gottingen itself – the authorities, and drivers, will have been pleased to escape with maximum delays of 1h30 in each direction.
The A7 is the major north-south route through the centre of Germany. It stretches 598 miles from the Danish border in the north to the B179 Fernpass on the Austrian border in the south, near Neuschwanstein Castle, via Hamburg, Hannover, Kassel, Wurzburg and Ulm.