Fears for tourism as huge hole in north German autobahn doubles in size
A major motorway in northeast Germany collapsed in September leading to it being completely shut down. With repairs set to last until 2021, the area's thriving tourist industry is getting nervous.
The hole in the Autobahn 20 near Tribsees in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is getting bigger and bigger. The transport ministry in state capital Schwerin confirmed on Thursday that it had grown from 40 metres to around 95 metres in length over the past four months.
The roadway which runs just south of Rostock near Germany’s northern coast, sunk several metres at the end of September. A few weeks later, the entire road had to be closed in both directions.
A sunken section of the A20 autobahn in October. Photo: DPA
Experts from the State Office for Road Construction said in the autumn that they expected a further decline in the road’s condition, but they were unable to say when this would happen.
Peat deposits under the motorway have been identified as responsible for the collapse, but it is still unclear what exactly happened in the ground that led to the roadway sinking. Experts have speculated that the foundations of the road were too weak to support it.
Meanwhile, the timetable for the rebuild of the road has been published. A spokeswoman for the ministry said that construction companies can apply for the contract until February 22nd. The applications will then be evaluated over six weeks, before three bidders are asked to submit a more detailed plan. Within six weeks the successful bidder will then be chosen.
Transport Minister Christian Pegel (SPD) has said that the motorway will be completely restored by 2021.
Tourist companies in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are worried that the closure will impact their business. The A20 is a major road taking people from northwest Germany to the popular resort areas of Usedom and Rügen. There are concerns that the closure will increase traffic jams during the holiday high season and put people off visiting the region.