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North Rhine-Westphalian roads clogged by mysterious traffic

The Local · 3 Nov 2010, 15:30

Published: 03 Nov 2010 15:30 GMT+01:00

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“We’re at a bit of a loss here,” a representative from the NRW state roadworks authority Straßen NRW told news agency DPA.

Sections of the A2, A42 and A57 motorways were jammed for stretches of up to 20 kilometres each, with many local radio stations turning their focus solely on the ensuing chaos in the country’s most populous state.

Another Straßen NRW spokesperson, Bernd Löchter, told local newspaper Rheinische Post that both foggy weather and the rush back to work following a long holiday weekend in the region may have contributed to the problem.

“There are no new construction sites.” he said.

Police told the paper there had also been no large accidents.

State Transportation Minister Harry Voigtsberger told DPA that continuing fallout from a one-day train conductor strike in the region on October 26, as well as a plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf, could have also been factors.

But on the day of the train strike the traffic jams measured only a collective 130 kilometres.

Voigtsberger said his ministry would push for more measures to prevent such traffic problems, including motorway expansions to problem junctions, a traffic study to suggest new solutions, and an improved warning system for drivers.

Story continues below…

The state knows far too little about why the deadlocks continue to reoccur, he said.

DPA/The Local/rm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:10 November 3, 2010 by William Thirteen
the usual cause is too many damn cars...
16:30 November 3, 2010 by MonkeyMania
If Chuck Norris were there there would be no traffic jam, he would simply flex the muscles on his little finger and push all the cars out of the way.
16:32 November 3, 2010 by jamano
...and too few train travellers.
18:02 November 3, 2010 by marimay
Too many people taking forever to pass "slower" cars.
19:53 November 3, 2010 by auniquecorn
Voigtsberger said his ministry would push for more measures to prevent such traffic problems, including motorway expansions to problem junctions,

Ya, that´ll solve the problem, close the autobahn down to 1 lane for 20 years of construction.

They just need to add more highways, more routes.
21:27 November 3, 2010 by wood artist
In the US, the city of Seattle has successfully proved that you can not build your way out of traffic problems. The more lanes they add, the larger the jams become.

The only true solution, which is the one no one wants to hear, is to get people out of their cars. In the US that's utter blasphemy. I have no idea how the concept would play in Germany. My own experience suggests that Germans have done a much better job with mass transit, so maybe there's hope.

07:38 November 4, 2010 by BR549
The reason for staus is not about too many cars or to few roads, it is about staus being such an integrated tradition in German culture now, that they NEED a good stau break and will create one at various times for reasons unknown. A good stau is just as important as a curry wurst!
08:38 November 4, 2010 by MonkeyMania
What's the mystery? Too many cars, most of them not needed on the road. It is inevitable that a way will eventually be needed to have fewer cars on the roads.
10:43 November 4, 2010 by Joshontour
Not surprising at all... With so much construction in that area, and so many detours, it is no wonder that the traffic is piling up. I spent the past few days in that area, and my Navi was going crazy trying to keep me on track in the midst of all the madness.
11:52 November 4, 2010 by moistvelvet
Blame Google, immigrants, Muslims... ins't that the norm in Germany?
12:32 November 4, 2010 by DinhoPilot
too many opas and omas driving?
12:44 November 4, 2010 by Frenemy
@moistvelvet: sure, why not? we need to have our own style too!

Isn't blaming Pakis and Mexicans (and government, and global economics, and Muslims, etc) the "norm" in the UK and the US?
15:58 November 4, 2010 by moistvelvet
@Frenemy, sure is, for biggoted idiots!
18:52 November 4, 2010 by MichaelMolenaar
Only 3 lane highways? Problem found and solved.
06:06 November 5, 2010 by MrMorden
wood artist: Seattle hasn't proven anything of the kind - its highways are quite underbuilt; the number of lane-kilometers per capita is comparable to LA, which has only completed 60% of its fifty-year-old construction plan.

Seattle's public transit system, on the other hand, exists primarily to funnel money into the pockets of its employees and favored construction firms. When Sunday service is significantly less frequent, with shorter hours, than the rest of the week, that's a hint in ten-meter-tall neon letters that as long as the agency makes payroll, it doesn't matter whether anyone rides at all.

Backing that up, farebox recovery is well under 10%, and would be dismal even if the ridiculously underloaded light rail line wasn't sucking up the overwhelming majority of the system's budget. Meanwhile, employers run their own private systems; Microsoft's is "one of the world's largest" according to their website.

Germany's public transit is another story; it's head-and-shoulders above anything you'd see in the UK outside of London, or the US outside of NYC. Still, we see the picture above. PRT would be nice, but it's always a decade or more away. In the meantime, those motorway expansions can't come soon enough. Maybe Straßen.NRW (yes, their name has a full stop in it) will finally take the schleich out of the Ruhrschleichweg.
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