Düsseldorf/Bonn · At the start of the summer holidays it could once again get very crowded on the motorways in NRW - partly because many Germans are taking holidays in their own country due to the pandemic. Traffic experts expect particularly heavy traffic jams on these roads.
At the beginning of the summer holidays in NRW, the ADAC expects the motorways to be full next weekend. Despite or perhaps because of the corona pandemic, many summer holidaymakers will therefore use the car as a means of transport. This is also due to the fact that many German holidaymakers prefer to spend their holidays at home rather than travelling abroad because of the pandemic. "Due to the corona crisis, we expect fewer trips abroad by plane and instead more holidays by car in Germany and neighbouring countries," is the assessment of transport expert Roman Suthold from ADAC Nordrhein.
According to the automobile club, the highest risk of traffic jams for North Rhine-Westphalia is expected on Friday between 1 and 8 p.m., on Saturday between 11 and 6 p.m. and on Sunday between 2 and 8 p.m. Especially on the motorways towards the North and Baltic Sea coasts and towards the south, motorists should consider allowing more time - or if possible plan another day of travel, such as Monday or Tuesday.
Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf airports are still far from their normal numbers, even after an expected increase for the summer holidays. Dusseldorf expects only about one third of the usual traffic volume during the holidays due to the corona pandemic, said Dusseldorf airport boss Thomas Schnalke.
The number of departures will probably increase from the current 40 during the holiday month of July to about 150 per day, Düsseldorf Airport announced on Tuesday. This year, the anticipation is particularly great. "At last we are back on the air again", said Schnalke.
During the holidays, up to 150 flights per day will take off and land at Cologne/Bonn Airport - less than half the number of flights that took off and landed exactly one year ago, the airport announced. Nevertheless, Cologne/Bonn is also expecting more flights than before - "the resumption will begin in June, initially on a small scale, and then in July we are expecting gradually more operations," said Cologne/Bonn Airport CEO Johan Vanneste according to a press release. "We are pleased about every aircraft that rolls over our apron." Currently, around 250 flights are planned each week (take-offs and landings).
The NRW State Roads Authority considers it difficult to make a reliable forecast for the situation on the roads due to the pandemic: it is not possible to estimate whether more people will go on holiday in their own cars or prefer to stay at home. Nevertheless, the employees assume that there will be more traffic and traffic jams, especially on Fridays. On Sunday, however, they anticipate a much more relaxed traffic situation. In order to allow travel traffic to flow as smoothly as possible, the state company is refraining from short-term construction sites on the days of travel.
The A1 may again become critical, especially in the areas around Dortmund/Unna, Osnabrück and Bremen. In some cases, there could be considerable traffic jams there. On the A3, too, the danger of congestion is great, especially in the section between Cologne and Oberhausen in both directions, from the Ruhr area in the direction of the Netherlands, and generally in the southerly direction. Motorists should also note that the A61 will be fully closed for eight weeks. On the A61 and the A565 in the Meckenheim area there may also be increased traffic.
The A43 between Recklinghausen-Herten and AK Recklinghausen will also be fully closed from 30 July to 3 August in the direction of Wuppertal and in the direction of Münster from 6 to 10 August.
This is where the risk of congestion will be highest in NRW:
Compared to 2019, however, the ADAC expects less traffic on the motorways. The number of overnight stays in the tourist regions is limited and many Germans will forego a longer summer holiday this year in favour of day trips and short trips. Last year, the traffic jam experts counted 7466 traffic jam reports over seven holiday weekends with a total length of 13,750 kilometres. The motorways were particularly full on the second holiday weekend with almost 2200 kilometres of traffic jams. The A1, with a total of 3436 kilometres of congestion, and the A3, with 2450 kilometres, were particularly hard hit.
Risk of road congestion on nationwide motorways
The roads outside NRW are also likely to be full. In addition to North Rhine-Westphalia, the holidays will also begin in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. The highest risk of traffic jams during the summer holidays can be expected here:
Bottlenecks when travelling abroad
Drivers should also have patience when travelling to neighbouring countries. According to the ADAC, problematic routes will include the Tauern, Fernpass, Brenner, Karawanken and Gotthard routes, as well as the trunk roads to the Italian, Croatian and French coasts.
There may be waiting times at the borders with Denmark and on entry from Slovenia to Croatia due to intensive checks on people.
(Original text: Andreas Dyck. Translation: Mareike Graepel)