Pandemic measures empty Germany’s autobahns

Cars drive near Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday in Germany. Much of Germany's autobahn system has no speed limit, and a proposal to cap speeds at about 80 mph has sparked controversy.

Munich (dpa) – Measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus have left Germany’s autobahn motorway system almost empty, according to the German Automobile Club (ADAC), as citizens stay home and travel comes to a halt.

A club spokesperson told dpa that traffic volume on the country’s autobahn system dropped massively following initial restrictions. Experts registered a significant decrease last week even before official border restrictions were in place.

Two weeks ago, under largely normal circumstances, 9,400 traffic jams with a total length of 14,500 kilometres and a waiting time of 4350 hours were registered.

Last week there were just under 4,000 traffic jams with a total length of around 4,900 kilometres, in which car and truck drivers had to wait for around 1,370 hours.

A significant decline occurred over the course of the week. While ADAC counted 840 and 995 traffic jams on Monday and Tuesday respectively, on Friday – usually one of the busiest days of the week – there were only 396.

According to the ADAC, however, motorway construction sites have increased. In the current week, 609 construction sites have been set up on German freeways. In the previous week there were 582 construction sites.

Germany on Wednesday announced it would close its borders to seasonal farm workers and on March 17 had banned non-essential travel from outside the EU bloc.

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