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Old June 28th, 2016, 01:58 PM   #8741
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Originally Posted by bewu1 View Post
Well. Living in EU' peripheral countries like Spain or Poland, we do not fully take into account trucks' transit traffic which go through Germany in all directions. And if you add internal German truck traffic, cost of Germany re-unification and the fact that basis (West) German motorways network was built in 50ies and 60ies of last century (with different truck loads requirements), you have the current situation of Stauland Deutschland
No. None of these conditions are necessary and sufficient to explain the bad state of German transport infrastructure alone. This because, even in combination, they are only part of the reason for the problem at hand, and they tell us nothing about the opportunities for change that have been squandered away the last couple of decades.

Five, ten, or even fifteen thousand extra daily trucks on a route says nothing about the unwillingness to invest in public infrastructure, and everything about not being able to cope with being the literal center of Europe.

The wholly predictable growth of internal traffic only reflects badly on States' institutional weakness in managing even basic maintenance projects, to say nothing about necessary expansion projects.

Reunification informs us that, when the political will and pressure are there, big improvements can be done, and on a very large scale at that.

And finally, being blindsided by end-of-life cycle recapitalization issues lays bare how short-sighted government policy has been up until now, seeing as how the warning signs have been there for a long time.

Only recently has this climate begun to change a bit AFAIK.
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Old June 28th, 2016, 07:55 PM   #8742
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Originally Posted by bewu1 View Post
Well. Living in EU' peripheral countries like Spain or Poland, we do not fully take into account trucks' transit traffic which go through Germany in all directions. And if you add internal German truck traffic, cost of Germany re-unification and the fact that basis (West) German motorways network was built in 50ies and 60ies of last century (with different truck loads requirements), you have the current situation of Stauland Deutschland
We do have roads with truck traffic similar to German Autobahnen in Spain. Obviously average traffic on our road network is lower, but in my city's metro area there are three roads that carry >10.000 trucks per day. Pavement on these roads doesn't last long, but repaving is a job that is done much quicker than in Germany. Sometimes they will close the road, but only at night. Lane closures is something very, very rare. And shutting down entire roads to force you into absurdly long (>10 or more kilometers) Umleitungs is something I first knew of in Germany. Even worse is that these situations last for months.

I'll give you an example: on road B30 between Ulm and Friedrichshafen they're rebuilding a bridge. All traffic must take this alternate route. This is crazy.

You could argue that these road and lane closures are done in order to keep the roads in perfect condition. It's true that roads (at least in BaWü) are OK in terms of maintenance (not, seriously NOT in terms of capacity). But is it really worth it to put 80.000 vehicles per day, 10.000 of them trucks (not talking about the case of B30 but about other Autobahnen) on 4 temporary lanes separated by a flimsy barrier during 1 year or more every 15 years? I don't think this is particularly safe. Either Germany simplifies the way roadworks are done or it lets roads last longer. I'd rather drive on a slightly bumpy road for 120 kilometers than on 2-meter wide lanes every 20 kilometers along the same distance.
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Old June 28th, 2016, 08:52 PM   #8743
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Resurfacing is simple. Bridge reconstruction or road enlargement is much more difficult. Lets also take into account the fact that Spanish motorway network has been designed in 80ies and built in 80ies and later. So the technical parametr and longevity of motorways in Spain and Germany are different.
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Old June 28th, 2016, 09:18 PM   #8744
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Resurfacing is simple. Bridge reconstruction or road enlargement is much more difficult. Lets also take into account the fact that Spanish motorway network has been designed in 80ies and built in 80ies and later. So the technical parametr and longevity of motorways in Spain and Germany are different.
Some of our busiest roads are much older. Still, many of the German motorways that are being resurfaced right now were rebuilt from scratch in the 80s and 90s.
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Old June 28th, 2016, 09:55 PM   #8745
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Quote:
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Resurfacing is simple. Bridge reconstruction or road enlargement is much more difficult. Lets also take into account the fact that Spanish motorway network has been designed in 80ies and built in 80ies and later. So the technical parametr and longevity of motorways in Spain and Germany are different.
Let's also take into account that when recapitalization is needed, i.e. with partial or full rebuilds of these roads, 'proper' political, legal, financial, and institutional circumstances would already have made it happen without many problems.

Government isn't just there to do only the easy things very well, it primarily exists to competently handle problems that are hard and unmanageable for private interests.

To me, in Germany over the last decade or so, there has been little political will, there has been no streamlining of onerous legal requirements even though it is very much necessary, departments across numerous governments have not been up to the task, and not enough financing has been forthcoming.

We could also (again) start talking about issues like stone age contracting procedures, the 9-5 monday to friday mentality at work zones, and some kind of national navel gazing session about PPP when it's clearly just another circumstantial tool to (finally) get things done.
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Old June 28th, 2016, 11:46 PM   #8746
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bewu1 View Post
Resurfacing is simple. Bridge reconstruction or road enlargement is much more difficult. Lets also take into account the fact that Spanish motorway network has been designed in 80ies and built in 80ies and later. So the technical parametr and longevity of motorways in Spain and Germany are different.
The problems in Germany are not limited to the Autobahn network. Many bridges on secondary roads are in very poor condition as well, in some municipalities nearly all bridges need extensive renovation or replacement. And the bridges on the secondary network aren't really much older than elsewhere in Europe, nor are they unusually heavily trafficked by trucks compared to other countries.

On a side note, the Autobahn bridges aren't really exceptionally old compared to other countries. There are very few 1930s Reichsautobahn bridges remaining, most were rebuilt after World War II and replaced or built after 1960. This is one of the reasons why old Autobahns like A2 and A4 don't have many bridge problems, they were already replaced in the 1990s and early 2000s. The most problematic Autobahn is perhaps A45, which was built in the 1960s and 1970s - not extremely old compared to other countries.

The fact that the bridges don't meet their projected service life is also not new. Already in the 1980s German engineers noticed that many 1960s-1970s bridges were deteriorating much faster than anticipated. German infrastructure is often built as cost-effective as possible, perhaps a bit too cost-effective, resulting in lower quality, especially on strength. This is a major reason why renovation cannot extend the life of a bridge adequately; many need to be demolished and rebuilt, while in other countries bridges of similar age and use are renovated to last another 30 years.
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Old June 28th, 2016, 11:47 PM   #8747
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No. None of these conditions are necessary and sufficient to explain the bad state of German transport infrastructure alone.
"Bad state" is all relative. I drove 1800 km on the A3,A5,A6,A7,A8,A61,A71,A81,A73,A650,A656,A569 highways in five different states last week. So, uh, a bit.

Of the actual construction sites i've encountered on those, there were only four that i'd consider "major". Two bridge constructions sites, including the one that had collapsed; one 19-km widening project on the A3 where in reality they're bulldozing the whole thing and then build it up again from the grounds; and the massive, massive, massive construction site at Geislinger Steige on the A8 where they're building the tunnels for the new highspeed rail route (the traffic jam from the Stuttgart side consistently starts at around Göppingen, i.e. 20 km ahead). On a side note in my opinion that was a really nice construction site to sit in after a total gridlock following an accident a couple km ahead.
Other than that? Sure, there's some resurfacing here and there. A couple bridges across highways from the 30s to 50s, and some that are part of highways from the 50s to 70s being rebuilt. That's it. Nothing to get your panties in a twist as long as you don't insist on "but i can't drive 180 now!". It's not like tomorrow every bridge's going to collapse and every km you're falling into potholes that break your axles. There are countries where that can happen, you know.

Beyond that, what I've also seen is the sheer ridiculousness of the A71 and A73 inbetween Bavaria and Thuringia, still looking like they were tarmaced two years ago and with - at 10:30 PM - on a 50 km stretch on the A71 encountering exactly five vehicles including two trucks. Not that the A73 going south was any fuller. It's really beyond belief what we've been wasting money on the last two decades.

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Originally Posted by verreme View Post
I'd rather drive on a slightly bumpy road for 120 kilometers than on 2-meter wide lanes every 20 kilometers along the same distance.
Eh, you get used to it. Especially since unless you're driving professionally, like to do it just for the sake of driving or if it's vacation herd time (like around now) you're not gonna drive much beyond 20 km in a row on an Autobahn in Germany regularly.
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Old June 29th, 2016, 02:03 AM   #8748
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Government isn't just there to do only the easy things very well, it primarily exists to competently handle problems that are hard and unmanageable for private interests.
That was the point of it, but as we can see, it doesn't quite work
Meanwhile privately-managed motorways seem to always be in good condition and maintained properly across the world, even if sometimes the tolls that may be present are onerous.
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Old June 29th, 2016, 06:41 PM   #8749
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A4 Aachen - Köln

Strassen NRW reports that the last workzone on A4 between Aachen and Köln (Cologne) has been removed today. This completes the 50 kilometer long widening of A4 from Kreuz Aachen to Kreuz Köln-West to six lanes. Construction lasted 18 years. Part of the project was a relocation of A4 to the south for the expansion of a lignite mine between Düren and Kerpen, which opened in 2014.
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Old June 29th, 2016, 07:05 PM   #8750
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That was the point of it, but as we can see, it doesn't quite work
It works in many countries.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 12:21 PM   #8751
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Always bear in mind that the roadworks don't take forever, and once they're finished, you get a great new stretch of motorway. Of course, then new roadworks will be on, but that's natural because of the size of the whole German network. In other words: we will never ever reach a state where there is no single baustelle on motorways in Germany.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 12:29 PM   #8752
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Always bear in mind that the roadworks don't take forever, and once they're finished, you get a great new stretch of motorway. Of course, then new roadworks will be on, but that's natural because of the size of the whole German network. In other words: we will never ever reach a state where there is no single baustelle on motorways in Germany.
I agree with the highlighted statement, but Germany could easily reduce the total annoyance to drivers by doing something simple: assuming total € available for road construction is fixed, start fewer projects at the same time, finish them faster, and then go to the next. Over a long period, you'd end up with the same end-result.

I know there are some constraints like complex bridge projects that cannot be "accelerated", but I think above all there is an issue of money spread too thin. That has a secondary effect: higher combined overhead, in that an active but very slow-moving work site still demands some fixed expenses on a time-accrued basis. In any case, I'm sure many of road projects could be sped up, for no extra aggregated cost, if the overall schedule of projects across the country merely didn't try to have as many simultaneous projects as possible.

Netherlands and Norway are two countries that take this approach with relative success. You don't see neverending projects there; conversely, if they wanted, they could triple the number of active projects, all taking triple the time to complete, and increase overall costs by a good 10-15% due to extra overhead.

Notice I'm using "project" here in the strict sense of construction activity only. There is no harm on having several future projects under study/design, or on the pipeline (like the Swiss love to have). That is where one wants idea thrown around, studies, planning procedures all going forward. But when construction starts, do it quickly!
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Old June 30th, 2016, 04:06 PM   #8753
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An example is the widening of A3 along the east side of Köln (Cologne). A 14 kilometer stretch of Autobahn is being widened from 2x3 to 2x4 lanes. They started in 2003 and worked their way northwards. But it's so slow that they already doing resurfacing on the widened southern part before the northern part is completed. So it turns into an endless cycle of roadworks by taking on 2 kilometer segments at the time.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 04:37 PM   #8754
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A3 Frankfurt - Würzburg

Although not reported as such, they started construction on the final two segments of the A3 widening between Aschaffenburg and Würzburg.

It concerns 5 kilometer between Rohrbrunn and the Hasetal Bridge, and 15 kilometer from the Hasetal Bridge to the Main River Bridge at Bettingen. The Hasetal Bridge was already replaced from 2007 to 2011, the Main River Bridge was already replaced from 1997 to 2001.

The A3 widening is planned to be completed in phases in 2018-2019. Another expansion project near Würzburg is also planned to be completed in 2019. That means that after 24 years of construction, the Aschaffenburg - Biebelried segment will finally be widened to 2x3 lanes. Construction started in 1995 between Aschaffenburg-Ost and Hösbach.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 09:26 PM   #8755
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A1 Dortmund - Köln

Construction on the Höllenbach Bridge near Wermelskirchen has been delayed - again! The Höllenbach Bridge is being expanded to six lanes as part of the final widening phase from Dortmund to Köln (Cologne).

Construction started in June 2007. At that time, it was expected to be completed by mid 2010. However, an endless flow of delays followed. It is now expected that the widening to six lanes will be completed by late spring 2018. This project is 8 years behind schedule, with 11 years of construction instead of the originally planned 3 years.

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Old June 30th, 2016, 09:47 PM   #8756
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Is this designed by the same people who designed the new Berlin airport?
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Old July 1st, 2016, 12:18 AM   #8757
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Strassen NRW reports that the last workzone on A4 between Aachen and Köln (Cologne) has been removed today. This completes the 50 kilometer long widening of A4 from Kreuz Aachen to Kreuz Köln-West to six lanes. Construction lasted 18 years. Part of the project was a relocation of A4 to the south for the expansion of a lignite mine between Düren and Kerpen, which opened in 2014.
My stupid GPS (car is brand new) always gets confused in that part
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Old July 1st, 2016, 02:09 AM   #8758
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Quote:
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Strassen NRW reports that the last workzone on A4 between Aachen and Köln (Cologne) has been removed today. This completes the 50 kilometer long widening of A4 from Kreuz Aachen to Kreuz Köln-West to six lanes. Construction lasted 18 years. Part of the project was a relocation of A4 to the south for the expansion of a lignite mine between Düren and Kerpen, which opened in 2014.
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
An example is the widening of A3 along the east side of Köln (Cologne). A 14 kilometer stretch of Autobahn is being widened from 2x3 to 2x4 lanes. They started in 2003 and worked their way northwards. But it's so slow that they already doing resurfacing on the widened southern part before the northern part is completed. So it turns into an endless cycle of roadworks by taking on 2 kilometer segments at the time.
Italian mass media underline very often the bad situation of Italian A3, whose reconstruction works started in the late 1990s and are still ongoing. It's described like the worst possible infrastructure delay that may happen in the world. But this one involves the reconstruction of a 400+ km motorway across mountains, with brand new tunnels, viaducts and interchanges. Probably most people here will be shocked to learn that in the rich and efficient Germany, widenings of sections of 14 - 50 km take roughly the same time.
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Old July 1st, 2016, 09:07 PM   #8759
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Could it be a topic that stretching roadworks over several years does also stretch the costs over several years' budgets? I mean, German local administrators are "smart" enough to think that shortsighted, I could imagine
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Old July 2nd, 2016, 03:11 PM   #8760
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A3 Frankfurt - Würzburg

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Although not reported as such, they started construction on the final two segments of the A3 widening between Aschaffenburg and Würzburg.
I've reported about this many times because it's where I live. Construction works did not start last week but one year ago (July 2015). It was just an official groundbreaking ceremony with Federal Minister of Transport, Mr. Alexander Dobrindt who said: "It's the world record of the most expensive construction sites in the world - minimum, if we consider Bavaria as the world" (20km; 211 million €). Source. Pics of the ceremony: > click <.
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