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First German Autobahn Opened 80 Years Ago, Connecting Cologne and Bonn
In 1932, then Cologne mayor Konrad Adenauer opened Germany’s first autobahn, an approximately 11-mile route linking Cologne and Bonn. It is today known as the A555.
Fast Facts: Autobahns in Germany
In Germany there are around 12,845 kilometers (7,982 miles) of Bundesautobahnen, federal highways, and around 39,700 kilometers (24,668 miles) of the more minor highways called Bundesstraßen. Germany has one of the most dense long-distance road networks in Europe.
The autobahns make up only 6 percent of the total road network, yet more than 30 percent of all road journeys take place on the autobahns.
From 2001 to 2011, around five billion euros were invested in autobahns.
After German unification in 1990, the autobahn network was expanded by 2,292 kilometers (1,424 miles) to a total length of 12,845 kilometers (7,982 miles); the length of autobahns with six or more lanes more than tripled; 42 percent of these construction projects were carried out in the five German states that previously were part of East Germany.
In 2011, 452 people died in accidents on autobahns. That was 5.3 percent more than in the previous year. In total, around 4,009 people in total died in traffic accidents in 2011. In 1991, 1,552 people died on autobahns and 11,300 people in total died in traffic accidents.
There is no standard speed limit on German autobahns.
(Sources: Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development; the Federal Statistical Office; the Federal Highway Research Institute)