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Old March 25th, 2016, 11:35 PM   #8541
kato2k8
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The road underneath (L107) actually crosses the valley in parallel to the A6 above, right between the pillars of the bridge. On the left side of the picture ramps go from the L107 below to the A6 above as the on/offramps for AS Saarbrücken-Fechingen.

L107 was closed for the bridge support evaluation in fact, which began about four weeks ago. Currently the A6 is closed between AS Saarbrücken-Fechingen and AS St. Ingbert-West, meaning the L107 is in full use.

The near-area reroute for the closed section runs via L107 to Fechingen just east of the bridge (in front in the picture), then L108 eastwards via Saarbrücken Airport to St. Ingbert and taking a short pass on the L126 which forms the AS St. Ingbert-West interlock with the A6.
The long-distance reroute especially for trucks already branches off the French A4 about 30 km ahead of Saarbrücken and takes you through Saarlouis to bypass Saarbrücken on the northwest (instead of the A6' passage on the southeast).

The next valley bridge on the A6 is only a km northeast btw. That one's pretty low with pretty thick pillars...

Last edited by kato2k8; March 25th, 2016 at 11:41 PM.
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Old March 25th, 2016, 11:40 PM   #8542
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From the press release:

Recommended truck detour towards France:

There's currently no recommendation for trucks coming from France.

Recommended car detour:

There's a temporary construction site with traffic lights on the old B40 route which is annouced to be removed as soon as possible to get another detour route.
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Old March 26th, 2016, 11:50 PM   #8543
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LOL, so it is a listed monument because of its incredibly thin architecture... and now it turns out it was actually not credible as a bridge
Hiw long will it take to de-list this 50+ year old worn out and substandard example of German engineering in preparation for full demolition and replacement.? 3 years ? 4 years, ?............


More.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 12:24 AM   #8544
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An SR news report stated that replacement is the only viable option, but will take years to plan and complete. They are now focusing on getting the bridge back online by temporary improvements. It was already listed for replacement during an assessment in 2013.

The problem is that even when a bridge doesn't show any visible damage during an inspection, it could still have inferior strenght which can only be calculated. This happened with the Fechingen Bridge. The state of Saarland has now assembled a task force to check if other bridges also have this problem. Luckily this bridge type with extremely thin supports is rather uncommon. However there are 20 Autobahn bridges in Saarland that need replacement within the next 10 years.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 03:05 AM   #8545
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Why does Germany have so many bridges needing closure/replacement? Italy build lots of highways at the same time (West) Germany was building their network, yet there are few cases of such failures or emergence repairs that require lengthy year-long closures!
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Old March 27th, 2016, 04:22 AM   #8546
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I wonder the same. I don't understand if we did more maintenance over time, if we used more lasting designs, or if we're simply ignoring the danger "If I don't see it, it doesn't exist"

In the last 10-15 years I saw a much better maintenance of Italian motorways, including some major works on pillars of large concrete bridges. But there are also many many examples of bridges with exposed bars (more common on ordinary roads) .
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Old March 27th, 2016, 04:27 AM   #8547
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Traffic much higher than designed for which was most often in the 1950s or 1960s on Autobahns. MUCH higher.

More trucks transiting since EU expansion east and more of the modern heavy artics with multiple axles as a % of trucks.

Now both the A1 and A6 links to Benelux/France are out of service the maintenance backlog is starting to threaten EU transport cohesion it is so bad. I'd say some bridge on the Munich - Salzberg route could be condemned soon. Many are truly truly ancient.

Germany can repair or strengthen the A6 bridge but that will only serve light trucks and cars...at best..and for a period. Not forever.

I think I know where EU road building funds are headed from 2020 onwards at it ain't gonna be east any longer I'm afraid.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 10:32 AM   #8548
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Traffic much higher than designed for which was most often in the 1950s or 1960s on Autobahns. MUCH higher.

More trucks transiting since EU expansion east
Exactly! While this happened in the 1990s, most of the funding went to Eastern Germany while the infrastructure of Western Germany did not get the originally assigned money. Renovation or widening+renovation projects were delayed. Meanwhile, the traffic volumes increased more and more - especially trucks.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 11:10 AM   #8549
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Why does Germany have so many bridges needing closure/replacement?
Because those bridges are overwhelmingly in excess of 50 years old, and that's about as far as reinforced concrete under variable pressure will last?

Saarland is the early 60s version of the GDR btw, as far as post-unification infrastructure buildup goes.

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Traffic much higher than designed for which was most often in the 1950s or 1960s on Autobahns. MUCH higher.
The late 60s estimates (laid down in GVPs etc) along routes actually quite often match current demand quite well - mostly because the estimates were actually a lot higher between destinations, and quite a number of routes were only partially completed, intended for later expansion or never built.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 11:48 AM   #8550
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Increased traffic is only a part of the reason why bridges in Germany are in such poor condition. It does not only affect heavily trafficked Autobahn bridges, but also bridges with much lighter traffic.

The weight limit for trucks was increased in 1965. This means bridges designed up until then are often affected by substandard design. However, bridges up until the first half of the 1980s not not have much reserves. They have already replaced some bridges that were less than 40 years old. The problem is the most acute with bridges built before the mid-to-late 1960s, but extends to younger bridges as well.

The problem in Germany is much bigger than anywhere else. It also appears that a renovation is only a short-time measure, most bridges need complete replacement to be a long-term, cost-effective solution.

To compare, the Netherlands which has a motorway network with similar age as Germany, did not have to replace any bridge due to fatigue so far. It also doesn't seem to be a structural problem in most other countries. Of course, any country needs to renovate bridges at some point, but complete replacement for reasons other than expansion is rare.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 12:43 PM   #8551
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post

The problem in Germany is much bigger than anywhere else. It also appears that a renovation is only a short-time measure, most bridges need complete replacement to be a long-term, cost-effective solution.

To compare, the Netherlands which has a motorway network with similar age as Germany, did not have to replace any bridge due to fatigue so far.
Germany has a higher % of total Autobahn network over 50 years old ....compared to most anywhere else in Europe. Germany also uses a lot more salt in winter than EG Italy or France would.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 01:02 PM   #8552
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One point of criticism I've read is that bridges were built with an insufficient amount of concrete and a lack of static reserve. It was already known by the early 1980s than many 1960s bridges were deteriorating much faster than anticipated, this was before the east-west unification and opening of the former Eastern Block.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 01:29 PM   #8553
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponge_bob View Post
Germany has a higher % of total Autobahn network over 50 years old ....compared to most anywhere else in Europe. Germany also uses a lot more salt in winter than EG Italy or France would.
What has salt to do with bridge static structure? I reckon salt can damage asphalt, but I can't see how in can damage pillars...
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Old March 27th, 2016, 01:56 PM   #8554
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Salt damages rebar.
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Old March 27th, 2016, 04:13 PM   #8555
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However, bridges up until the first half of the 1980s not not have much reserves.
And in 1986 the weight limit was raised again...

(to be fair though - the axle load of about 8 tons has been the same since 1949)
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Old March 31st, 2016, 10:12 AM   #8556
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New and old (not in use any more) A4 near Erfurt.





The old one given back to nature, of course. Formerly, used to climb up to the hill.
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Old March 31st, 2016, 07:44 PM   #8557
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In case anyone wonders why there are six lanes but only a dozen cars per picture and zero trucks: The A4 expansion is part of old plans drawn up after reunification, meaning demand or a cost-benefit-analysis did not really play much of a role in it being built.

AADT is 58,000 near Jena about 10-15 km downroute (where it's somewhat fuller than the place in the pictures) - usually 60,000 is seen as absolute minimum for 2x3 (and 90,000 is seen as "good capacity usage"), 120,000 is absolute minimum for 2x4. The A4 expansion above has since been reasoned for as "well, we will have 60,000 there - in ten years or so".

Project demands not taken up in the new BVWP btw that might give one an idea of what "used-to-reunification-benefits" state ministries "expect" include such interesting ones as e.g. a 2x3 widening for the 37,000 (!) AADT A12 in Brandenburg or a 2x4 widening for the 95,000 AADT A4 in Saxony.
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Old March 31st, 2016, 08:01 PM   #8558
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Originally Posted by kato2k8 View Post
In case anyone wonders why there are six lanes but only a dozen cars per picture and zero trucks: The A4 expansion is part of old plans drawn up after reunification, meaning demand or a cost-benefit-analysis did not really play much of a role in it being built.
Same criticisms I heard for the Ebensfeld - Erfurt - Lepizig NBS, not following an optimal path and being designed with a failed operational model in mind.

The political climate in Germany now is clearly changed, I wonder why these projects are not getting stopped or downsized where possible.
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Old March 31st, 2016, 09:47 PM   #8559
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It was an important factor, too, that the old alignment was a scary Reichsautobahn, up- and downhill, narrow, without hard shoulder., exit and entry lanes. Many heavy trucks drove 40-60 km/h uphill.
It should have been reconstructed any way, such roads may be OK for 15-20,000 AADT but not 40-50,000.
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Old March 31st, 2016, 10:07 PM   #8560
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I think that rebuilding* the A4 2x3 was the right decision even if the AADT is mostly less than 60,000 vehicles/day because the cost difference is not huge and AADT is not far from the recommended 2x3 minimum limit.

*It was not just a simple widening but often a realignment.
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