Host Nation Update, Jan. 27, 2023
Black ice in the Stuttgart region – This weather condition was the reason
Slick roads in winter can’t come as a surprise, but if you have to scrape a nasty layer of ice off your windows as a motorist or walk as a cyclist, it’s still annoying. A particular weather condition was responsible for this on Friday morning. “The icy conditions resulted from a fog-like layer of clouds, from which fine spray fell despite negative temperatures, explains the meteorologist at the German Weather Service in Stuttgart. This meteorological effect is quite common, he said, but difficult to predict. “We had forecast sporadic drizzle. But it could just as well have been snowflakes, then it would not have been so slippery,” says Klemens Steiner. The German Weather Service changed its weather warning level from yellow to ocher on Friday morning. This corresponds to the “Official warning of striking weather”. According to this, the “expected weather development is not unusual, but dangerous. On the roads, the situation was not very dramatic. The number of black ice accidents has been in the single digits, says a police spokesman on request. In the emergency room of the Filderklinik, however, there were definitely some patients who had slipped on slippery sidewalks and had to go to the hospital with fractures or breaks. The city of Stuttgart points out that sidewalks must be cleared by 7 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. on Sundays. Snow should be shoveled, and gritted. Salt and other thawing substances are only permitted in exceptional cases of freezing rain. Also on Saturday morning, the DWD expects black ice once again, albeit in a weakened form. “On the cloudy, damp and cold basic situation does not change on Saturday,” says Klemens Steiner. On Sunday afternoon, however, there could then literally be a few rays of hope, before it becomes stormy and wet on Monday. The snow line will then be around 400 meters. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 27)
Postal warning strikes in Baden-Württemberg – These regions are affected
The delivery of letters and packages in the southwest is now at a standstill for the second day in a row. The trade union Verdi has also called for an extension of the warning strikes in letter and package centers for Friday. In the state, the regions affected include Stuttgart, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Heilbronn, Ludwigsburg and Pforzheim, as well as Rhine-Neckar, South Baden, Upper Swabia and East Alb. Postal services in the southwest had already gone on strike on Thursday. Verdi wants to put pressure on the collective bargaining round. “The strong warning strikes are a clear signal from the employees to their employer,” said Andreas Henze, Verdi regional department head for postal services, according to a press release Friday morning.
The union is demanding 15 percent more pay for a contract term of one year. The company rejects this. It argues that wage increases cannot be passed on through price increases because the postal market in Germany is regulated. Negotiations will continue on February 8 and 9. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 27)
Politicians call for emergency plan for Engelberg tunnel in regards to last week’s traffic chaos due to tunnel closure
The technical defect in the Engelberg tunnel in Leonberg on Autobahn 81, which led to a long-term closure of this important intersection on Monday of last week, causing traffic chaos throughout the region, still raises questions. Also among politicians in the region. His displeasure had already been expressed by Hans Dieter Scheerer, FDP member of the state parliament from Weil der Stadt. The breakdown in the Engelberg Tunnel – all lanes were only passable again shortly before midnight on Tuesday evening – was an indication of the neglect of the infrastructure in the Stuttgart region. Now the CDU members of parliament for the districts of Böblingen and Ludwigsburg, Marc Biadacz and Steffen Bilger, are following suit with their criticism. They say that traffic and emergency planning must be put to the test in view of the traffic chaos. “Miles of traffic jams, missed deliveries and deadlines not only led to frustration, but also to economic damage for our entire region. The operational capability of police, rescue services and fire departments was also hampered,” the CDU members of parliament wrote in a statement. In a letter to the managing director of the Autobahn GmbH of the federal government, Stephan Krenz, the CDU members of parliament Marc Biadacz and Steffen Bilger now demand a quick analysis of the events at the Engelberg tunnel and a critical consideration of the reaction of the highway operators. In the letter, they ask the federal authority, among other things, to present an emergency concept for any future closures of the Engelberg Tunnel as well as the Schönbucht Tunnel near Herrenberg and the freeway cover at the city limits of Böblingen and Sindelfingen, which is still under construction. “The federal highway 81 is an elementary component of the infrastructure of the district of Böblingen and a basic requirement for the functioning of supply chains and passenger traffic in our region,” said Biadacz. Therefore, he said, lessons must now be learned from the traffic chaos surrounding the closure of the Engelberg Tunnel last week and future emergency plans must be improved.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 27)
Attraction in Böblingen – Ferris wheel comes to the BB Airfield
The airfield between Böblingen and Sindelfingen can look forward to an attraction in the spring: The Ferris wheel “City Star” guest on the fairground. With about 70 meters it is the largest traveling Ferris wheel. Previously, the Ferris wheel stood in Ludwigsburg, Stuttgart and London. On March 2, the assembly of the Ferris wheel will start on the airfield in front of the Motor World in Böblingen. “The 48 enclosed and temperature-controlled gondolas make the round trip a comfortable experience even in the cold of winter, and if required – for example for the special events with wine tasting or breakfast – visitors can sit down comfortably at a table,” the agency writes. With this ambience, the “City Star” is an event for the whole family, with room for six people in each gondola. All cabins are also barrier-free and equipped with an audio system.
At 70 meters, the “City Star” offers a whole new view of Böblingen, Sindelfingen and the surrounding area from March 10 to June 11. After sunset, 100,000 colorful LEDs illuminate the monumental wheel to create a special atmosphere. After stops in London and Bremen, the “City Star” most recently provided new views in Ludwigsburg. The attraction was so successful that the guest performance on the Bärenwiese was extended several times last year, write the makers. While the normal ride takes around 15 minutes, visitors can take an hour and a half to enjoy the unique view at dizzy heights during special events: Special offers in Böblingen include a dinner evening every Wednesday and a wine tasting in the “City Star” on Thursdays. In addition, once a month it is possible to enjoy one’s breakfast above the rooftops of Böblingen and Sindelfingen. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 27)