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Updated: 31.01.2022 08:12

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  • Author Anika Hinz

The closure of the bridge on the A45 near Ludenscheid is keeping commuters on their toes these days. Now comes the next traffic hammer.

NRW – Since December 2021 the viaduct on the A45 near Ludenscheid is now fully closed. Then, in January of this year, the bang: investigations revealed that the bridge may never again be used by cars*. It must be demolished. For commuters on the “Sauerlandlinie” a real shock. But it gets even worse, reports RUHR24*.

Autobahn A45
Route Dortmund to Bavaria (Aschaffenburg)
Alternative name Sauerland line

Bridges on the A45 need to be completely replaced: Shock for commuters on the Sauerland line

As the WDR reported at the weekend, not only the bridge near Ludenscheid must be demolished and rebuilt due to massive construction defects. An investigation has shown that all 60 (!) Valley bridges on the A45, popularly known as the Sauerland line, are so dilapidated that they have to be replaced.

The reason for the deterioration of the bridges is today’s traffic volume on the route: The bridges were built 50 to 60 years ago – when by far not as many vehicles were on the road as today (moreabout accidents and traffic* at RUHR24).

Bridges on the A45 were not built for today’s traffic

The bridges can no longer cope with today’s traffic on the A45 motorway. Due to the constant load of moving cars, they become dilapidated faster. A problem that can only be solved by adapting the bridges to today’s traffic standards.

At least: The 60 bridges are not all to be replaced immediately. And: their replacement should be done so that the A45 does not have to be closed. This was confirmed by Elfriede Sauerwein-Braksiek, head of the Westphalia branch of Autobahn GmbH, to the WDR.

Valley bridges on the A45 are not to be closed despite new construction – advantage for commuters

“We are of course trying to build the bridges so that traffic can continue to flow,” says Sauerwein-Braksiek. The bridges would be built next to the existing highway. “And then later we’ll push in the finished superstructure.”

It is still unclear when the 60 bridges on the A45 will be replaced. Long approval procedures make it harder to implement plans quickly. A problem that also affects the new construction of the Rahmedetal bridge near Ludenscheid.

Bridges on the A45 are to be renewed as quickly as possible

Currently only estimate how long the still passable bridges on the Sauerland line in NRW* will last. Their service life varies considerably: “There are some with a remaining service life until 2026, others until 2038. But you can’t say that across the board.”, Sauerwein-Braksiek told the online portal

Currently, 15 viaducts along the Sauerland line are under construction or will go under construction before 2022. “This figure shows that we are working consistently to make the A45 a high-performance link again,” Elfriede Sauerwein-Braksiek is quoted in a recent announcement by Autobahn Westfalen.

However, it is also clear that work cannot be carried out everywhere along the route at the same time. “We take a close look at where bridges need to be renewed as soon as possible. In other places we save time by reinforcing bridges and thus extending their service life.”

Traffic jam on the Sauerland line after bridge closure on the A45 motorway

A45 bridge near Ludenscheid closed since December 2021: Detour and traffic jam in the region

The start of the renovation project on the A45 is the Rahmede viaduct near Ludenscheid. Since the 2. December 2021, the bridge is fully closed and can not be driven on since then. Detours lead around and through Ludenscheid and cause traffic problems and congestion there*.

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