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Germany orders drivers to slow down on Autobahns over fears roads will 'blow up' in heat

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Germany orders drivers to slow down on Autobahns over fears roads will 'blow up' in heat
A heat damaged section of the A5 in Heidelberg in 2015. Photo: DPA
11:47 CEST+02:00
With temperatures up to 40C forecast, officials have placed speed limits on sections of Germany's famous Autobahn network over concerns the road could buckle in the heat.
The heatwave hitting Germany is not only causing problems for people - it is impacting roads too.
 
Experts fear sections of the highway could buckle in the heat, increasing the risk of accidents. That's why authorities have imposed speed limits on parts of the country's Autobahn, which is famous for having sections with no speed limit.
 
The damage - dubbed "blow-ups" by the German press - on the highways occur when extreme heat causes surfaces to buckle and rip. It can happen in older portions of the road network built with concrete. 
 
 
Several sections of the A9 and A38 in the south of eastern German state Saxony-Anhalt are subject to speed limits until further notice, according to the head of the state road construction authority, Uwe Langkammer.
 
These are precautionary measures to keep motorists safer in the event that the roads become damaged without warning. 
 
The A9 between the Schkeuditzer Kreuz and Halle is affected. A limit of 120 km/h has been put in place there.
 
A limit of 100 km/h has been set for the A9 towards Munich between Naumburg and Droyßig as well as around Weißenfels.
 
On the A38, motorists have to drive slower in both directions between Merseburg-Süd and Merseburg-Nord as well as towards Leipzig between Lützen and the border to Saxony.
 
More speed limits or measures could be set if the extreme heat continues. 
 
 
Extreme heat causes accidents
 
In June 2013 extreme heat triggered buckling in the country's Autobahn, and in one location in Bavaria a rip in the highway surface resulted in the death of a motorcyclist and injuries to several other motorists, reported Spiegel. Temperatures in the area had reached 34C.
 
Meanwhile, in the summer of 2015, heat caused a section of the A9 near Bad Dürrenberg in Saxony-Anhalt to become badly damaged. The section was closed for weeks as repairs got underway. 
 
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