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Germans rage against the road works

The Local · 10 Dec 2011, 15:19

Published: 10 Dec 2011 15:19 GMT+01:00

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According to the survey conducted by the research institute YouGov, 59 percent of Germans said that the state of the country's inner city roads was the most pressing transport issue, while more than half also thought the maintenance of country roads and motorways should take top priority.

Only 22 percent considered a speed limit for Germany's motorways as important, while only 15 percent thought there needed to be more high-speed intercity rail links.

The people asked also raged against "sleeping" road works – 48 percent said they got most worked up over road construction sites where apparently nothing was going on.

The survey also found that 78 percent of the population had never heard of the Transport Ministry's new website, bmvbs.de/baustellenmelder, where citizens can reports such inefficient road works.

A spokesman for the ministry said that the website, which went live in October, had so far received 1,200 such reports, many related to the same road works. "The top of the list is North Rhine-Westphalia, where about 40 percent of the reports have come from," he said.

The federal ministry has now started to ask the states in question to explain the delays. "As far as the federal government is concerned, there is most room for improvement in road work preparation and in the contractual guarantees of short construction periods," the spokesman said.

YouGov surveyed more than a thousand Germans over 16 for the survey at the end of last month.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:42 December 10, 2011 by pepsionice
I will offer three examples here. I lived from 1992 to 2009 in Germany.

1. When my son was in daycare, I had to travel through eight villages to get to his daycare lady. One of the villages started a 200-foot road repair project (pavement removed and replaced, the hillside was re-landscaped above the road, and some island in the middle was created to slow traffic down). For almost two years, this project went on. I never saw more than two men working on the project. They kept a red-light at both ends to limit folks to one-lane traffic only. Everyone outside of this village was delayed by five minutes every time they traveled via the village. Twenty-four months of work, for what a typical American crew would do in eight weeks.

2. The autobahn between Kaiserslautern and Mainz. This took almost twenty-five years to build. They started at the Mainz end, and basically built out four miles at a time. As each project ended, they'd create a fancy entrance/exit for the next extension....wasting millions. Truckers began to use it frequently as they got it to the 75 percent point, and small towns toward K-town went nuts as the traffic flow wen t to 20k vehicles a day. The last ten miles became a huge problem because various groups went into court to demand more money for property or to hinder the construction of the project. The final three miles of the project took almost four years to complete.

3. Around the rear of Sembach used to be this two-lane road where a dozen car accidents would occur each year because of winter ice and the bad nature of the road. For almost twenty years....everyone complained in the region. It was finally fixed, only because the Kaiserslautern area got hundreds of millions for road repair during the World Cup games back six years ago. If the games had not occurred.....there'd be a continual spree of car accidents.
17:08 December 10, 2011 by The-ex-pat
I would like to offer up the A2, Bielefeld to Kamener Kreuz. It has taken 14 years of constant construction to built 50kms of Autobahn!!!!!!!!
19:58 December 10, 2011 by coffejohn
At last, common ground between Germany and the UK!
10:22 December 11, 2011 by Enough
Let's see...the bridge between Kaiserlautern West and East has been under some kind of construction since at least 1988 or earlier. Looks like they finally are going to replace it as they should have 20 years ago.

Then there the sleeping construction zones on the A 6 and A 62 that never seem to get done.

And my most irratating, the construciton zone on the ring around Mainz that always looks the same...ZERO!
11:16 December 11, 2011 by DocEllis
In 1992 we lived in Southern Cal. This was when the Northridge earthquake hit. It flattened 7 miles (11 Km) of 6 lanes on elevated highway. The Santa Monica Freeway. It took less than 2 months for construction crews to remove the flattened highway and rebuild it. All 6 lanes, all 7 seven miles, all elevated.

I appreciate the pace that the Germans build roads. It is a tremendous source of laughter for me, and laughter as we know is a great medicine. How slow can you go?

We were in Dillonberg a number of years ago and the map show we could get to the hotel via a route through town. When we got to the town the road through town was closed because of a tunnel that was being dug - built through it. It took 45 minutes to work our way around the town through the various one ways to get to the other side and to our hotel. When I got to the hotel I asked the man at the desk about the construction and how long it has been like this. He said three years. I said, Why don't they change the maps then?

I thought it was funny, but if you don't laugh you'll cry.

11:39 December 11, 2011 by Shiny Flu
One thing that needs to happen are establishing contracts that reward early project delivery through bonuses and penalise (per 24 hours) delays. Those managing construction sites also need to be held accountable when accidents occur in them IMO.

Just one recent example in Berlin: Seestrasse, where the repainting of the white lines needs to happen, but perhaps not best done in the middle of the day, by 2 guys and a truck, reducing 2 lanes down to one and causing a 10km rolling traffic jam!? Wouldn't it make more sense to do it at night time? Not to mention that a lot of construction sites (especially in cities) are poorly designed - especially for pedestrians and cyclists.

If anything speeding up road works is safer for everyone and reduces the negative financial impacts etc.
14:21 December 11, 2011 by storymann
This has always been am issue. The road is torn up ,barricades erected and the site sits vacant week after week . The traffic situation becomes archaic ,resulting in long lines and irritated drivers unusable parking places ,some times as long as 5 or 6 months!

There appears to be no General contractor that schedules the work as the project progresses.

I agree with the above post that part of the bidding process ( I assume there is one) include a time frame and schedule of sub contractors. Incentives for finishing early as well as fines for finishing late.

When ever I visit the USA I am always amazed that at 12 mid night road construction is going on, it is a 24 hour ordeal until it is finished, especially in areas with large traffic volume and on major highways.
03:47 December 12, 2011 by Englishted
I am surprised nobody as linked this to the Green party's desire for us to drive our cars less ?.
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