A7: Elbtunnel remains closed – further full closures planned

Further full closures of the A7 planned

Updated on 01/25/2023 – 12:38 p.mReading time: 3 min.

Autobahn GmbH Nord presents the 2023 construction program

Traffic flows on the A7 under the Behringstraße bridge just before the Elbe tunnel. (Source: Christian Charisius/dpa/dpa-images)

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Drivers will need strong nerves in the coming months if they want to go through the Elbe Tunnel. Major construction work is underway near Hamburg.

New construction work and two complete closures will impede traffic on the A7 between Hamburg and Hanover in the coming months. The federal project company Deges is planning a complete closure of the motorway for the weekend of March 24th to 27th. About a month later it has to be blocked again.

At the Hamburg-Othmarschen junction, the Behringstraße bridge is to be demolished at the end of March, as Deges division manager Bernd Rothe said on Tuesday. The structure has to make way for the Altona noise protection tunnel, which is intended to protect residents north of the Elbe tunnel for a good two kilometers from traffic noise on the future eight-lane motorway. During the closure, drivers will probably not be able to use the section between Hamburg-Heimfeld and Volkspark – so the Elbe Tunnel will remain sealed.

The Elbe Tunnel near Hamburg is a bottleneck – traffic jams keep coming

Just one month later, the A7 is to be completely closed again. According to the information, final work on the new ramp south of the Elbe tunnel is planned for April 28th to May 1st. The motorway between Hamburg-Hausbruch and Othmarschen will not be passable on the weekend.

Construction site on the A7 (archive photo): The noise protection tunnel should be completed by 2028.

Construction site on the A7 (archive photo): The noise protection tunnel should be completed by 2028. (Source: Hoch Zwei Stock/Angerer/imago-images-bilder)

If the Elbe tunnel is not passable, there are always long traffic jams because there are hardly any alternatives. Only on Monday had a serious accident led to kilometers of traffic jams. It has now become known that the driver who was killed was the well-known NDR reporter Sascha Henn. According to the police, he was not buckled, read more about it here.

The A7 will also be renovated in other places

Around 30 kilometers south of the Elbe Tunnel, a thorough overhaul of the motorway section between Thieshope and Garlstorf will begin as early as February. The entire route between the Horster Dreieck and the Bispingen junction (Heidekreis) is to be renovated. “That will follow us between Hamburg and Hanover for the next few years,” said the head of Autobahn GmbH Nord, Carsten Butenschoen.

Elsewhere, the connection between Hamburg and Lower Saxony is improving. On February 3rd, another section of the A26-West north of Buxtehude will be opened to traffic. Motorists coming from Stade will then be able to drive almost as far as the Hamburg city limits at Neu Wulmstorf on the new route. The last link to the A7 near Hamburg-Moorburg is already under construction. The connection between the A26-West and the A7 will initially be built as a motorway triangle, said Rothe.

Traffic pressure at the Port of Hamburg is set to increase further

For the first section of the A26 East, which is to connect the A7 with the A1 near Hamburg-Stillhorn as a “port passage” from 2033, Deges is expecting the planning approval decision this year. Whether the excavators will then be allowed to roll is uncertain. Deges expects lawsuits against the decision.

Koehlbrand Bridge

View of the Köhlbrandbrücke in Hamburg: According to the authorities, it can only be used until 2030 and should then be demolished. (Source: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa-images)

Rothe defended the planned connection through the port of Hamburg. According to calculations by Deges, the Hafenpassage will save 48,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions because traffic will be bundled and then flow without hindrances. A road expansion further north over the Köhlbrand will not be able to cope with the volume of traffic. Today there is a traffic pressure of 90,000 vehicles that want to cross the port area per day, in the future there will be 120,000, most of them trucks.

The Greens recently announced that, despite their commitment to the project in the coalition agreement with the Hamburg SPD, they wanted to get involved at federal level against the A26 East. According to the port authority HPA, the Köhlbrandbrücke can only be used until 2030. It is to be replaced by a tunnel under the arm of the Elbe.

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