Autobahn GmbH sounds the alarm: Thousands of German bridges are ailing

Autobahn GmbH sounds the alarm
Thousands of German bridges are ailing

In June, the Salzbachtal bridge in Hesse has to be closed due to severe damage. But that is only “the tip of the iceberg”, according to the Autobahn GmbH, which is responsible for maintaining the freeways. The ailing infrastructure extends across the country.

In Germany around 3,000 motorway bridges are in ailing condition: They are in an “insufficient and inadequate condition,” said the managing director of Autobahn GmbH, Stephan Krenz, of “Welt am Sonntag”. “We’re very worried.” Autobahn GmbH has been responsible for the maintenance, construction and operation of the freeways since the beginning of the year. There are a total of around 27,000 motorway bridges.

The Autobahn GmbH took stock of the bridges after the Hessian Salzbachtalbrücke had to be closed in June after severe damage. The Salzbachtalbrücke is only “the tip of the iceberg,” said Krenz. The ailing infrastructure extends across the whole country from the Rhine bridges in the west over the valley bridges in the Hessian low mountain ranges to the bridges of the city motorway in Berlin.

Krenz called for additional funds: “We need significantly more money for the renovation of the motorway bridges,” he told the newspaper. So far, around one billion euros have been made available for this per year.

“We have to become significantly faster, for that we need simplified building permits for replacement new buildings,” added Krenz. If a planned new bridge deviates significantly from the existing one, you have to go through a complete planning process.