Königswinter Motorists need to factor in extra time on the B42 between Rhöndorf and Bonn from now on. Over the weekend road markings were put in place, turning the road into single-lane traffic on each side.
The question had been bothering commuters for weeks now: How will the way to work and back home be affected if the Drachenbrücke across the old town Königswinter can only be used in a single lane in each direction? Whoever is dependant on his or her car and cannot swap it for buses or trains will be able to find out in a practical test. Over the weekend, the road markings were put in place towards Bonn.
As reported repeatedly, the bridge needs to be repaired. Originally, the road authority wanted to bring the single-lane solution into or effect during the Easter holidays. Examination of the structure had shown that the 650-meter bridge, which was repaired last 12 years ago, had severe structural deficiencies - based on the federal 2011 recalculation guidelines, which were issued to ensure that older bridges can withstand the strongly growing traffic frequency.
Bridge needs to be relieved immediately
The bridge was built in 1962, back then there were fewer trucks on the roads and there was maximum weight limit of 12 tons - today the limit is as high as 40 tons. About 27,000 vehicles are using the B42 each day, 800 of those trucks. Too many for the Drachenbrücke. There is officially no acute traffic danger, but: The bridge needs to be repaired - and relieved immediately, even if the repair work might not be done any time soon.
So now, single-lane traffic and a speed limit of 80 km/h. The signs and road markings were delayed until now due to problems in finding companies who could do these jobs. The actual repair work is scheduled to take place in 2019. At the moment it is planned to put the construction to tender at the end of this year.
If all goes to plan, the works can begin in spring or summer, with a possible duration of nine to twelve months. The tunnel repair works between Königswinter and Bonn is scheduled for May (and may take up to two years) - another traffic restriction for the Siebengebirge.
(Original text: Claudia Sülzen / Translation: Mareike Graepel)