traffic jam

Traffic Jams



haul haulage negotiate (2)
detour steadily interchange
lane damage under way
avoid vehicles traffic jam
fleet collision block off
minor delivery grind to a halt
site bound (3) supply chain
bill (2) logistics nightmare
stuck crumble dilapidated
allocate pull over fender-bender
propose annoying backed up
toll concrete take their toll
willing initiative vibration
levy steadily put up with
urgent revenue running costs
funds disaster disruption





It’s 5 am at the Rudinger Haulage Company in Southern Germany.

Manuela Deuser is preparing to drive bottles and metal plates to Stuttgart.

As usual, she’ll have to negotiate the nearby highway interchange. It’s a 300 km trip to Stuttgart and back.

Manuela Deuser, Truck Driver: “Traffic’s backed up at the Weinsberg Interchange every morning in the Stuttgart bound lanes. So I get under way between 4:30 and 5 to avoid the traffic jams.”

Manuela Deuser’s 18-ton truck is just one of Rudinger ‘s fleet of 120 vehicles.

For years, drivers like Manuela have seen traffic steadily increasing, while the roads remain the same.

Today, even getting an early start doesn’t help. There are too many vehicles on the road — and following a collision, the whole highway is blocked off.

Manuela Deuser: “It’s annoying. I’ve been driving this route for three-and-a half years. And three or four times a week I grind to a halt at the Weinsberg Interchange or on Highway 81 bound for Stuttgart.”

The traffic jams cost her boss money. Deliveries arrive late, causing disruptions in the supply chain.

It’s every logistic firm’s nightmare.

Roland Rudinger, Managing Director, Rudinger Spedition: “If we’re late, six men are standing around at the construction site with no material.

Then I’m billed for 60 euros per hour per man. That’s 360 euros gone, just because we were stuck in traffic and delivered the goods and hour late.”

The major reason for the traffic jams are the dilapidated bridges around the Weinsberg Interchange. The concrete is cracking and crumbling.

So the traffic lanes are narrowed.

To minimize vibrations, trucks are limited to 60 km per hour, and must maintain a minimum distance of 50 meters.

And then it happens again: three vehicles have a fender-bender just ahead of the bridge and must pull over.

Though the damage is minor, traffic grinds to a halt.

Timo Wustholz is a construction expert with the state government in Stuttgart. He says rebuilding the highway would cost some €700 million.

But there’s no money allocated for this in the budget — even though traffic volumes just keep on rising.

Timo Wustholz, Chief Building Officer, Baden Wurttemberg: “In this area, around 70,000 vehicles per day use the A-6.

Moving further west, it’s 100,000 vehicles a day, 25% are trucks or heavy vehicles.

It’s these heavy vehicles that are increasingly taking their toll on the bridges.”

Manuela Deuser’s employer and other entrepreneurs from the region aren’t willing to put up with the situation any longer: they’re proposing a privately financed initiative to pay for the highway construction.

Then a toll will be levied to cover the running costs and generate revenue.

Roland Rudinger is willing to invest €100,000 in the initiative right away.

Roland Rudinger, Managing Director, Rudinger Spedition: “Since the politicians are leaving us drown in traffic, we need to take action urgently.

The unpredictability of the motorway is a disaster.

So we must act — and quickly.

If the construction can’t be achieved with public funds, then it will have to be done privately.”

But it could take years for that to happen.

Meanwhile Manuela Deuser leaves the highway along with the rest of the traffic; they make a detour through the neighboring villages.

After five hours on the job, she hasn’t even gone 100 kilometers.

But that’s all in a day’s work for truckers here.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Manuela Deuser begins work very early in the morning. True or false? Why does she have to start very early?

2. The situation has been changing over the years. Is this correct or wrong? Has the change been for the better or worse?

3. Traffic sometimes or frequently grinds to a halt. Why does traffic often grind to a halt?

4. Does it make any difference to businesses if there are traffic jams?

5. What is the main reason why there are frequent traffic jams? What is the preventive measure for this? What is the (short-term) solution for this?

6. What does the civil engineer propose? What is the long-term solution? Will this happen? Why won’t it happen?

7. Are the business people content with the situation? What do they propose? Will it likely come into fruition?
A. Is traffic a problem where you live? Has it been changing in recent years?

B. How do people feel about it? Do they feel frustrated or accept it the way it is?

C. Do traffic jams have an impact on businesses and the economy?

D. What are some solutions to this situation?

E. What may happen in the future?

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