Cologne is still Germany’s jam capital though there are signs of improvement. Otherwise, avoid autobahns on Fridays, and the Thursday before Easter.
Also, a quick look at the 20 mile Afsluitdijk causeway motorway. New boats for DFDS and Brittany Ferries. Enhanced border controls in the Netherlands. And, an official complaint over a destroyed truck load during last week’s farmer demos in France.
THE MOST JAMMED ROADS IN GERMANY
Record congestion overall, probably a lot to do with road works.
Total German traffic jams topped 1 million kilometres for the first time last year.
Queues grew by 17% compared to 2014 while the number of jams was up by 20% say new figures.
Motoring club ADAC which compiled the research says, ‘The increase in congestion in the past year shows that the motorway network is increasingly reaching its capacity limits. There is immense need for action to eliminate the many bottlenecks, but the expansion of highways lags significantly behind the growth in traffic.’
It says only about half of the priority projects identified in the 2001-2015 infrastructure plan have been completed.
The condition of Germany’s roads has been the subject of much controversy.
The government has pledged to ramp up investment from €10 billion each year now to €14 billion by 2018. A new Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan will be published in March.
Extra revenue has been raised with an expanded truck toll system though a new charge aimed just at foreign drivers is bogged with an EU legal challenge.
Meanwhile, the busiest roads in Germany last year were the east-west Cologne-Austria A3 and Karlsruhe-Austria A8 followed by the north-south Frankfurt-Basel A5.
The busiest day generally was Friday but peak jams of 8000km were recorded on Maunday Thursday, 2 April. This year that date falls on 24 March.
Comparing the top ten busiest stretches from 2015 and 2014 shows road works play a large part.
Congestion fell by almost a quarter on the A8 Stuttgart-Karlsruhe, for instance, which is nearing the end of a major realignment.
It dropped down to second place behind A3 Oberhausen-Cologne which saw queues rise by 50 percent thanks to new works around Leverkusen and Dusseldorf.
Similarly, A3 Frankfurt-Wurzburg jumped from fifth place to third last year thanks to major road works at Marktheidenfeld.
A5 Heidelberg-Karlsruhe did not even figure in 2014’s rankings but went straight in to fourth place in 2015 thanks to a succession of road works.
On a slightly more positive note, while Cologne figured in four of the top six most congested roads in 2014, it is now more evenly distributed throughout the top ten.
However, queues grew on the almost completely renovated A4 to Aachen, even as it slips down the list, though improvement should be seen this year as reconstruction ends.
Also, Insurance4CarHire.com has just published a very handy infographic on everything you need to know about autobahns. It makes the point that 60% of the network has an advisory limit and that insurance companies may refuse to pay out after accidents at higher speeds. Otherwise check out the A24 Hamburg-Berlin which has the longest derestricted stretch. And take some loo roll with you. See ‘The Autobahn Adventure’ here.
roundup: CROSSING THE CHANNEL. Stena Line’s amazing 100% reliability record is arguably still intact. Annual maintenance last weekend on Stena Britannica over-ran thanks to poor weather. It meant the ship was out of action this weekend too – the first cancellation for any reason in recent memory. The Harwich-Hook of Holland operator also revealed a 16% uptick in passengers last year, to 698,000, far outperforming an otherwise disappointing market reports Cruise & Ferry. Also, Brittany Ferries’ new Pelican has arrived safely in Bilbao ready to start a freight-only service to Poole on Thursday says @BFenthusiasts while DFDS’ new Cotes des Dunes starts work on the Dover-Calais route today. NETHERLANDS. Border checks with Belgium and Germany are being beefed up according to DutchNews.nl. Random controls have been in place since September but have not led to appreciable delays at border points. This might change now says a junior justice minister as police slow traffic to identify suspicious vehicles. SPAIN. The government has made an official complaint after a lorry load was destroyed by farmers at a road block last week. The vehicle from haulier Valero Ruiz carrying fruit and vegetables was stopped near Arles last Tuesday. ‘This attack is cause for great concern for the Government of Spain as it represents a flagrant violation of the principle of the free movement of goods between Member States of the European Union,’ says the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unlike during last year’s farmer protests, this is the only report so far of protestors destroying loads. The demonstrations rumble on at various places around the country.