Holiday traffic: construction sites can become bottlenecks

Frankfurt/Schwalmstadt (dpa/lhe) – The motorway network in Hesse is growing by a small amount. After eleven years of construction and a much longer planning period, a section of the A49 will be opened to traffic in northern Hesse next Thursday (June 30). A few weeks before the beginning of the Hessian summer holidays, motorists will be able to make faster progress there between Neuental and Schwalmstadt over a distance of 11.8 kilometers. Elsewhere in the state, construction sites and bottlenecks are still waiting for them. Especially on the main travel days of the summer holidays that are now gradually beginning in Germany, patience at the wheel will be required again.

According to the Verkehrsclub ADAC Hessen-Thüringen, the following applies to the holiday season – North Rhine-Westphalia has already started its holidays: “In principle, increased travel can be expected immediately, especially on weekends. If you start early, you usually have free travel until around 8 a.m. – but drivers can only expect empty streets at night.” According to the experience of the past holiday weekends, the ADAC counts the A4 and A7 at the Kirchheimer Dreieck or the area of ​​the A3 between Wiesbadener Kreuz and Niedernhausen as classic bottlenecks on construction sites.

The branches of the federal highway company responsible for Hesse currently list more than 30 long-established construction sites on the routes through the state. There may also be daily construction sites. With a view, for example, to urgent requirements in terms of road safety, these cannot usually be planned weeks in advance, said a spokesman for the West branch.

In order to disrupt the flow of traffic as little as possible, according to the federal highway company, there will be no daily construction sites on the main travel routes on the weekends at the beginning and end of the holidays. “In order to avoid bottlenecks and promote the flow of traffic, the regular number of lanes will be maintained as far as possible.” The construction sites in Hesse with an increased risk of traffic jams in the summer holiday season include the A3 between the Wiesbadener Kreuz and Niedernhausen, the A4 between the Kirchheimer Dreieck and Bad Hersfeld, the A5 between Homberg (Ohm) and Alsfeld-West and the A7 between the Hattenbacher and Kirchheimer Triangle.

The motorway company expects a high level of traffic especially on the following travel dates in Germany: on Fridays and Saturdays 15./16. July, 22./23. July, 29th/30th July and August 12th and 13th. “If possible, these days should be avoided,” it said. A lot of traffic is to be expected on several routes, but this will increase during the holiday season: In Hesse, this affects the A3 (sections Cologne-Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Würzburg-Ulm) in addition to the motorways in the Rhine-Main area. Hesse has summer holidays from July 25th to September 2nd this year.

According to the ADAC, more than two million vehicles use the Autobahn in Hesse every day. The average traffic load on all motorways in the state is around 66,000 vehicles a day – around 30 percent more than the national average of around 51,000.

Although this data comes from the time before the corona pandemic, explained a spokesman for the association. However, it can be assumed that “we are currently almost at this level again.” The past holiday weekends in particular have seen heavy travel. Nevertheless, the following applies: “In the ADAC traffic jam balance, Hesse still does well for traffic volume. Other federal states with a similarly high volume of traffic are in a much worse position here.” The traffic club sees reasons “above all in the good expansion situation and the good construction site management to date”.

With the traffic release of the A49 in northern Hesse, the motorway is not yet fully drivable. It is intended to lead from Kassel to central Hesse to the future Ohmtal triangle with a connection to the A5. The two remaining and controversial sections of the new route in central Hesse are still under construction. The opening for traffic is expected there for 2024. Environmental and climate protectionists had protested violently against the further construction in central Hesse.