S ymptomatic for the bad condition of the bridges on federal roads is the Rhine bridge near Leverkusen on the A1 motorway. It was opened to traffic in 1965 and was approved for 40,000 vehicles a day. Over the years the volume of traffic increased, the bridge was expanded and reached its load limit. In 2012, engineers certified the bridge to be in a “critical structural condition”, and four years later, experts recommended the new construction. In 2017 alone, 120,000 vehicles crossed the Rhine every day, trucks over 3.5 tonnes have long been banned from entering the bridge, they are being prevented from passing by a barrier. The Federal Highway Research Institute currently gives the Rhine bridge a grade of 3.9 - 'unsatisfactory condition'.umt.
It is trucks to blame - transport volume is increasing
As the main culprit for the bad Condition of bridges and roads apply to trucks and the increase in freight traffic. Since 1956, the total weight of the trucks has increased from 24 to 40 or 44 tons in combined transport, the axle loads increased from 8.0 in 1956 to 11.5 tons. According to the “fourth power law”, the higher the axle load, the greater the stress on a road from a vehicle. 15,000 cars (2 tons each) cause the same damage as a three-axle truck (30 tons).
In addition, freight traffic on the road will increase significantly by 2030. While in 2010 3.12 billion tons were moved on the road, by 2030 it should be 3.63 billion tons, an increase of 16.8 percent. The transport performance increases from 437 to 607 billion tons per kilometer, while at the same time the transport distance increases from an average of 140 to 167 kilometers.