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Old June 24th, 2017, 06:16 PM   #2901
ChrisZwolle
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The problem lies with old concrete. It cannot expand sufficiently so it blows upward. Asphalt doesn't have this particular problem. The E314 buckled asphalt was due to movement of the concrete underneath it. In that situation, it was asphalt overlaid on the older concrete surface.

Not many areas in Europe have this particular problem. First of all, it needs to be sufficiently hot for this to happen. There is no sure threshold at which this happens, but the risk increases at temperatures around 35°C, especially if it is hot for a longer period of time. Then you also need to have old concrete. Not that many countries in Europe still have pre-1980 concrete on their motorways. For example in France and the Netherlands it has been almost entirely phased out and in Germany they have resurfaced most of their older concrete motorways, with only some stretches remaining.

Spanish A-4 has a lot of concrete south of Madrid, I wonder if they have the same problems. That concrete is not as old (late 1980s or newer) but it is one of the few longer concrete autovías in the country.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 08:39 PM   #2902
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Spanish A-4 has a lot of concrete south of Madrid, I wonder if they have the same problems. That concrete is not as old (late 1980s or newer) but it is one of the few longer concrete autovías in the country.
I've never heard of such problems in Spain. If I'm not mistaken, the oldest concrete motorway in Spain is the A-66/A-8 in Asturias (Avilés-Gijón-Oviedo), which opened in 1976. The inner part of Asturias has reached temperatures over 30ºC (e.g. 37ºC in Oviedo last year).

In the dualling of the A-2, A-3, A-4 and A-5, concrete pavements were widely used, especially in Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia, where >35ºC are reached every year. On the A-2, some years ago a layer of asphalt was laid over the concrete. In some areas, cracks appeared and had to be filled with tar. Notice how the cracks follow the shape of the old concrete slabs: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.2002...DV10SD7xRQ!2e0
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Old July 10th, 2017, 10:33 PM   #2903
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E411 near Libramont in Southern Belgium has been closed to all traffic for over 32 hours now.

Yesterday around noon, a German truck hit the median barrier, crashed and caught fire. It carried hazardous cargo. The truck carried barrels with tetrachloroethylene, which during the fire oxidized into phosgene

To give an idea of what that is, phosgene was responsible for 85% of casualties due to chemical weapons attacks during World War I. A provincial state of emergency was proclaimed.



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Old July 16th, 2017, 07:51 PM   #2904
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Ostend (Belgium, West Flanders)
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Old July 23rd, 2017, 02:43 PM   #2905
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The section of the E314 mentioned above opened for traffic around 1984-1986. In the world of concrete, that's still quite recent. In the past (pre 1970) concrete road were constructed as independent concrete slabs of about 4,50 meters in length and 3,80 meters in width. Heat expension was never an issue within this methods. Many of these roads are still in use today but they all share the same flaws, the slabs start to sag over the years, driving on them is noisy and uncomfortable, high speed traffic is out of the question.

In order to be able to provide comfortable concrete roads for high speed traffic, a new technique was devised. Concrete would be poured contininously for km's in one stretch. There would be no slabs and thus no sagging. In order to prevent damage by heat expension, grooves between the lanes were devised. They were only a few cm's wide but if you multiply 3cm * 20km that's allot of m² to cope.
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Old July 24th, 2017, 12:54 AM   #2906
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Why Oostende has such big port facilities? Did it use to be more important for trans-channel truck traffic than Rotterdam/Hoek van Holland before the Eurotunnel opened?
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Old July 24th, 2017, 01:51 AM   #2907
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Why Oostende has such big port facilities? Did it use to be more important for trans-channel truck traffic than Rotterdam/Hoek van Holland before the Eurotunnel opened?


Pre-Schengen, was it easier for Belgian manufacturers to use Belgian ports? And likewise for other countries, of course....

Twice in the 80s, I took the Ostend-Dover ferry.
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Old July 24th, 2017, 02:43 AM   #2908
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Schengen would have nothing to do with transporting goods from other country's ports. Belgium and the Netherlands have had the relevant thing: a Customs Union, continuously since 1944.

The decline of Ostend as a cross-channel port was the Channel Tunnel. There was a ferry to Ramsgate, geared to the freight market, that lasted until a few years ago.
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Old July 24th, 2017, 05:22 PM   #2909
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Oostende was once known as "Brussels at the sea". Together with Liège, Spa en Brussels it was known as a "Royal City".

Today the port of Zeebrugge is much more important as one of the fastest growing ports of Europe. It's the largest port for imports and exports of new vehicles in the world, with nearly 2 million units handled in 2015 and more than 50 million tonnes of cargo annually.

It's also Europe's largest hub for liquefied gas, connected directly with a gas field in the North-Sea through piping.
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 09:21 PM   #2910
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Belgium is going wild on average speed checks. The city of Mechelen alone will get 14 average speed checks. Many are also rolled out right after the speed limit has been reduced. It's becoming a gigantic cash cow.

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Old August 3rd, 2017, 09:49 PM   #2911
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To be fair, on Belgian roads everyone drives at least 30km over the speed limit. Especially in the south. They are also helped by that apps that alarm for speed traps are allowed (and widespread), with exception for some very specific techniques like radar detection. Plus "pop-up" speed checks are extremely rare. So is it really such a bad thing?
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 11:15 PM   #2912
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'everyone drives at least 30 km over' seems a bit of an exaggeration. There are surely a number of idiots who drive much faster than the speed limit, but rolling out ANPR cameras on such a large scale creates a super surveillance state.

The real problem with traffic safety in Belgium has more to do with alcohol and the way the country - in particular Flanders - is built. Flanders has a lot of ribbon development, the worst kind of development from a traffic engineering perspective, because it creates an endless string of conflict points and traffic flows that cannot easily be diverted to better roads, first because those better roads with no development hardly exist and second because they are very expensive to build due to the scattered development all around.

These roads through ribbon development are also difficult to improve, other than lowering the speed limit. For example to build separate bike paths you need to acquire land from every single house along the road, which still doesn't solve the huge amount of driveway access, which results in many conflict points.
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 11:26 PM   #2913
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I don't agree with the claim that the speed limits on those stretches has been decreased lately. I know at least 5 of these roads quite well and it has been at least a decade since anything was changed there. I can't claim to know all of these roads, but I don't think it's as bad as you make it appear to be.

Also, generally the speed limits are quite acceptable in Mechelen, I think. Only the Jubellaan shouldn't have been downgraded to 70 km/h and the 270° turn from N16 to R6 shouldn't be 50 km/h, or at least not for the whole turn.

I'd much rather have these average speed stretches than speed cameras. With these, people stick to the speed limit, while with fixed point cameras you get people who brake a lot and then accelerate up again afterwards. Also, several of these average speed control stretches reuse the ANPR camera shield that has been installed around Mechelen.

Also, 30 km/h over the limit? In my area at least 80% of the people drive exactly the limit. About 10% drive (way) too slow, and about 10% try to drive faster. I'm not sure about Wallonia, though I can imagine that driving 15 km/h too fast there is considered as normal. On motorways in Flanders, average traffic does tend to go at 130 km/h instead of 120 km/h most of the time, but nothing as bad as 30 km/h.

Last edited by Glodenox; August 3rd, 2017 at 11:56 PM.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 02:54 AM   #2914
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8166UY View Post
To be fair, on Belgian roads everyone drives at least 30km over the speed limit. Especially in the south. They are also helped by that apps that alarm for speed traps are allowed (and widespread), with exception for some very specific techniques like radar detection. Plus "pop-up" speed checks are extremely rare. So is it really such a bad thing?
YES exactly it is bad. If everyone is driving much over the limit, it's prima facie proof the speed limit is wrong. And now to steal from people using it as an excuse.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 01:29 PM   #2915
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I usually am in the more rural parts in Wallonia (mostly around Wavre and Namur), and unfortunately the 30km isn't an exaggeration. If my girlfriend drives it's like we`re standing still at some roads. If any other friend drives they also have the needle stuck at way above the speed level, like anyone else. Especially on middle sized roads between villages.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 07:37 PM   #2916
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What is the speed limit on those streets and can you show an example on Streetview?
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Old August 4th, 2017, 08:04 PM   #2917
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Well mostly straight wide roads with speed limit 50 or 70. If you drive 70 on a big wide road (steenweg or chaussee) ot feels like going very slow so everybody is speeding because it looks like speed limits in belgium are imposed almost senseless and you almost wonder if they trew darts arrows at the map. I regulary drive 100 if a 70km/h section feels like doing 30km/h certainly in Wallonia where speed checks are nearly non existent.
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Old August 9th, 2017, 11:23 AM   #2918
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E40 at Melle (near Gent) in the 1950s.

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Old August 10th, 2017, 01:41 AM   #2919
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it's already bumpy
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Old August 11th, 2017, 03:41 PM   #2920
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Flanders started rolling out a new design for hectometer markers along its roads. Instead of the old kilometer posts, they will be installed every 100 meters. They will also be installed perpendicular to the motorway, instead of alongside it, making it easier to read while on the move. They will install 19,300 hectometer markers, at a cost of € 2.7 million.

With installing these new markers, N49 between Zelzate and Antwerpen will officially become a part of A11. Intersections on N49 have been replaced by interchanges over the past number of years, bringing it up to motorway standards.

The new design:
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