Bundesautobahn 4

Bundesautobahn 4

Infobox Bundesautobahn
BUNDESLÄNDER=North Rhine-Westphalia
hdrs=!!!!!"Netherlands"----BAB-Brücke|Talbrücke Dahl 126 m
----BAB-AS|37|Wommen BAB-B|400 ()BAB-Rast-|Ramsberg will be closed ()
"Zgorzelec (Poland)"

BAB intro|4 is an Autobahn that crosses Germany in a west-east direction. The western segment has a length of 134 km (83 mi), the part in the east is 381 km (237 mi) long. Works to continue the A 4 are in progress, but currently no plans exist to fill the gap completely.

The A 4 starts north-west of Aachen, where the Dutch A76 enters Germany. It continues to form the southern part of the Cologne Ring (Kölner Ring) and ends near Olpe. The eastern part starts at the Kirchheim intersection (with the A 7) and goes through Eisenach, Erfurt, Weimar, Jena, Gera, Chemnitz and Dresden to Görlitz, where it crosses the border to Poland and continues as A4 (PL).

The westernmost 11 kilometers of the A4 form the most easterly stretch of the European route E314: continuing east from the Aachen interchange (Kreuz Aachen), the A 4 is part of the European route E40.

The first sections of the A4 were built in the years 1934 to 1937. Because it crossed the border between East and West Germany several times, those parts were closed and fell into decay during the time of German division. Repairs of those parts are scheduled to be completed in 2007.

Wiehltalbrücke accident

The "Wiehltalbrücke" is a bridge which carries the A 4 across the valley of the river Wiehl. The A 4 near Gummersbach was the site of the most expensive traffic accident in German history: On 26 August 2004, a sports car, whose driver did not hold a driving licence and was later found to be driving under the influence, collided with a tanker lorry, carrying 33,000 litres of petrol. The lorry broke through a guardrail, fell off the Wiehltalbrücke and exploded, killing the driver. The subsequent fire caused severe structural damage to the bridge. The driver of the sports car involved in the accident was jailed for 22 months without parole in September of 2005.

The bridge was closed for weeks until temporary repairs were completed. Permanent repairs began on July 28, 2006, and finished August 22, 2006, using a unique method never before used in Germany. For the duration of the repairs, where among other things a 20 m × 31 m segment was replaced, the bridge was closed. The repairs cost 7.2 million.

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