Local news translated – July 13, 2023

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, July 13, 2023

Autobahn 8 will be fully closed over the Alb for several days – Route towards Stuttgart affected

Travelers will have to plan detours from Autobahn 8 in the coming days. The section between the Ulm-West and Mühlhausen junctions will be fully closed from Thursday evening until Monday morning, according to the Autobahn GmbH Southwest Branch. The direction of travel is Stuttgart. On the stretch, which also includes the Albabstieg, rocks must be secured and the road surface must be renewed. The A8 over the Alb plateau is considered a busy route. Long-distance traffic will be diverted to the A7 and A6 from the Ulm/Elchingen interchange. Road users heading towards Stuttgart will be diverted via Geislingen an der Steige and the federal roads 10, 313 and 466. Autobahn GmbH appeals to follow the detour signs in order to keep the impact on residents as low as possible. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 13)


Sindelfingen: Ban on Grilling in Forests and Green Areas

City administration warns of fire hazard and imposes a ban on grilling at designated barbecue areas in the city forest and all public green spaces. The municipal forestry department and the Sindelfingen Fire Department consider the risk of a forest or vegetation fire to be very high due to prolonged dryness. Carelessly discarded cigarette butts or a barbecue fire can have devastating consequences. The soil in the forest and green areas has become extremely dry due to the heat, and dried grass and leaves can ignite quickly. The particularly dangerous spread of sparks can cause the fire to spread rapidly, with fatal consequences. Therefore, the city of Sindelfingen has immediately prohibited grilling at the barbecue areas in the city forest and all grill spots in public green spaces. The grilling ban is in effect until further notice.  Anyone who uses the barbecue areas or removes the barriers and signs in defiance of the ban will be committing an offense. However, the seating facilities at the barbecue sites can still be used.  The city of Sindelfingen urges visitors, especially those in the forest, to strictly adhere to the following rules of conduct outlined in the State Forest Act: From March 1st to October 31st, smoking is generally prohibited in the forest. Making fires is only allowed at the official designated fireplaces on the barbecue sites. Any grill bans must be strictly observed. Grilling on personal barbecue equipment is not permitted. Open fires outside the forest must be at least 100 meters away from the forest edge. Even at the permitted locations, fires must always be supervised and completely extinguished before leaving. (SZBZ, July 12)


Radio beacon system on the Venusberg in Aidlingen

SZBZ 12. Juli.2023

Podcast “Back Then – History and Stories from the District of Böblingen”: The radio beacon system on the Venusberg in Aidlingen is deteriorating more and more. The SZ/BZ interview with amateur researcher Norbert Prothmann. Aidlingen. With its 115 hectares, the Venusberg in Aidlingen is the largest nature reserve in the district of Böblingen and a popular destination for outings. Those who hike up the 537-meter-high plateau come across mysterious remains of walls in the middle of the forest. “These are remains of a radio navigation system,” says Norbert Prothmann of the Underground Research Group. The IT specialist focuses on historical topics related to the two World Wars. For over 12 years, he has been researching the facility in Aidlingen, which is poorly documented and lacks eyewitnesses. In the SZ/BZ interview, the amateur researcher provides insights into the overgrown and decaying structures on the Venusberg. What was the purpose of this facility? Norbert Prothmann: “The technical term is radio beacon system. It was intended to guide airplanes. The historical origin can be traced back to lighthouses for ships. The first approaches were made during the First World War. In 1916, the military started using directional beams. In the 1930s, the company Telefunken played a significant role in developing the technology that was supposed to be used in Aidlingen. The facility on the Venusberg had two special features. It was the only one in the entire southwest region and the last of its kind. A total of 17 were started in Germany, with six others planned.”

How did Aidlingen become the chosen location?

Norbert Prothmann: “There was a gap in Germany’s air defense in the district of Böblingen. From 1943 onwards, bombers from England flew in through France and attacked Stuttgart from the south or southwest, for example. Aidlingen was located in the flight path and therefore offered itself to show the fighter planes the way towards enemy forces.” Norbert Prothmann: “The planners accepted this disadvantage due to the favorable location. The Todt Organization, under the leadership of its founder Fritz Todt, completed the construction as the general contractor of the German Reich. It is confirmed that forced laborers, including 35 Eastern European prisoners of war, worked here from July 1944 onwards. There were hardly any trucks available at that time. Horse-drawn or ox-drawn wagons transported the materials from the distribution station at Ehningen train station to the Venusberg.”

“Electric locomotives moved the 120 tons” What did the facility look like?

Norbert Prothmann: The centerpiece was a large concrete ring, 70 centimeters high, 1.50 meters wide, and 22.6 meters in diameter. On top of it stood the huge antenna system weighing 120 tons, which rotated twice a minute. Four small unmanned electric locomotives served as the drive. They looked similar to the miniature railway at the Killesberg in Stuttgart. Barracks and two massive buildings were located next to it. In late 1944, three positions with anti-aircraft guns were added.


New driving bans possible due to particulate matter from 2030 onwards

The Environment Committee of the European Parliament is proposing stricter limits for particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. According to the Federal Environment Agency, this will only be achievable through new restrictions, possibly including electric vehicles.  – Tighter limits for air pollutants could lead to new driving bans, restrictions on the operation of wood-burning stoves, and further measures in the future. This is stated in a document from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). According to the document, the limits proposed by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, which must be implemented by 2030 at the latest, are hardly achievable anywhere in Germany. The committee is aligning itself with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), which are up to three-quarters lower than the current thresholds, depending on the pollutant. In contrast, the EU Commission had only proposed a halving.  The following chart shows, as an example, the values for very fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and the most heavily polluted measuring points in 2012 and 2022, as well as the newly discussed limits. Even the 5-microgram limit demanded by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament is not met in the Black Forest.  The plenary of the European Parliament still has to vote on the limits and negotiate them with the member states and the Commission. If they are tightened to the level recommended by the WHO, “we expect exceedances of the particulate matter limit almost everywhere by 2030,” according to an analysis by the UBA. The values cannot be consistently met throughout the country within the next ten years.  So far, it has been a purely expert discussion The new limits have so far been discussed within specialist circles. However, they are expected to lead to further discussions about countermeasures. In the future, these measures should not only focus primarily on hotspots like Stuttgart’s Neckartor, says Marcel Langner from the Federal Environment Agency: “The goal should be to reduce pollution across the board, for example by reducing emissions from vehicles.” Unless new technologies reduce the abrasion even in electric cars, this means less overall traffic. Restrictions on wood-burning stoves and pellet heaters, which emit particulate matter, can also help.  Particulate matter and nitrogen oxide pollution have been decreasing in Germany for years. The reasons for this are technological improvements, as well as environmental zones and local driving bans. However, “air pollution is still the largest environmental risk factor for diseases and premature deaths in Europe,” says Barbara Hoffmann, an environmental medicine expert from Düsseldorf.


Unrestricted travel on B464 near Holzgerlingen

Motorists can breathe a sigh of relief as construction work on the B464 near Holzgerlingen is complete. Holzgerlingen. The B464 near Holzgerlingen is now open. Moreover, the intersection at Holzgerlinger First has also been reopened. In late May 2023, the Stuttgart Regional Council commenced the resurfacing of the B464 between the Altdorfer junction near Holzgerlingen and Tübinger Straße south of the city of Böblingen. Additionally, the drainage facilities were adjusted, and the protective infrastructure was extensively renewed as part of the project. Subsequently, the road surface of L1184 between the Altdorfer Straße roundabout above B464 and the Holzgerlinger Straße/Schillerstraße roundabout in Altdorf was rehabilitated. Due to necessary adjustments in the construction schedule resulting from delivery bottlenecks in the procurement of the vehicle restraint system, the completion date was postponed. (SZBZ, July 13, 2023)


Traffic measures for the Women’s Cycling Grand Prix and Pretzel Race

The Women’s Cycling Grand Prix with 18 professional teams, a total of 108 female cyclists, will take place for the first time in Stuttgart and the region on Sunday, July 16.

A map with the route plan of the long and short Brezel Race Stuttgart. The short route starts at Neckarpark, goes via Kornwestheim to Heimerdingen and then on to Höfingen, Gerlingen and Solitude Castle. The finish line is at Marienplatz in Stuttgart.

The Pretzel Race routes start at Benzstrasse in Bad Cannstatt. The finish is at Marienplatz.

At the same time, more than 2,700 recreational cyclists “pretzel” along the routes of the Brezel Race cycling events and enjoy the cheers of spectators along the streets and at the finish line in the south of Stuttgart. Participants in the short Brezel Race, which starts at 8 a.m., cover 62 kilometers and about 500 meters of elevation gain. In the “Sunday Morning Cycling”, 100 participants will cycle at a relaxed pace along a 30-kilometer route starting at 8:15 am. The long version of the Brezel Race will take recreational cyclists over 110 kilometers and about 1,050 meters of elevation gain starting at 9 a.m.

The Pretzel Race routes run along scenic roads and paths from the start on Benzstraße in Bad Cannstatt through Hofen, Mühlhausen and Zazenhausen to Kornwestheim, Möglingen, Schwieberdingen, Markgröningen, Hochdorf an der Enz, Ditzingen and Leonberg. In Gerlingen, the route climbs steeply uphill to Solitude Castle before rolling downhill via Wildparkstraße and Rotenwaldstraße to Rotebühlstraße. In the final sprint on a loop through the west of Stuttgart, it is a matter of putting everything on the pedals until the finish on Hohenstaufenstraße. The “Sunday Morning Cycling” shortens behind Zazenhausen via Stuttgart-North to Stuttgart-South. The participants enjoy the cheers at the finish line on Marienplatz just as much as the professional cyclists of the Women’s Cycling Grand Prix, which starts in Tamm and meets the Brezel Race course after about five kilometers.

Closure of the race track for vehicles

In order to guarantee the best conditions and the greatest possible safety for all participants, spectators and contributors, the race course will be fully closed to individual vehicle traffic. Along the routes, major traffic restrictions due to longer road closures must be expected. In addition to the south and west of Stuttgart, the districts of Bad-Cannstatt and Mühlhausen will be particularly affected.

Starting at 6 a.m., the streets around Marienplatz and the finish area on Hohenstaufenstraße will be closed for the build-up of the event. The start area along Mercedesstrasse and Benzstrasse will be closed from 6 a.m. until approximately 10 a.m. Road closures along the exit from Stuttgart, from Bad Cannstatt via Hofen, Mühlhausen to Zazenhausen will be activated from 7:30 a.m. until approximately 9:30 a.m.

From 8:45 a.m. until approximately 4 p.m., the roads along the entrance from Wildparkstrasse to the finish line will be closed. This will affect Rotenwaldstrasse, Rotebühlstrasse, Senefelderstrasse, Reinsburgstrasse, Silberburgstrasse, Marienstrasse, Tübinger Strasse and Hohenstaufenstrasse.

The main bike route 1, which is not passable for cyclists between Marienplatz and Fangelsbachstraße for reasons of safety for participants and spectators, will be rerouted from 8 a.m. until about 4 p.m.. The detour leads via Adlerstraße, Liststraße, Lehenstraße, Heusteigstraße, Wilhelmstraße, Torstraße to Eberhardstraße. The detour route is signposted in both directions.

There will be restrictions on bus and light rail services in the city. Information about current travel options is available from the electronic timetable information of the SSB and the VVS.

Crossing the race track is only possible for rescue and emergency vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists can cross with the usual caution in case of gaps in the racing field. No stopping signs will be posted along sections of the course to ensure traffic safety and protection of participants. Residents are asked to park their vehicles outside the restricted sections.

Due to the restrictions, it is strongly recommended not to drive to the areas affected by the closures on the day of the event, but to use the park-and-ride services, buses, light rail, commuter trains and, of course, bicycles. Passengers should check their connection before starting their journey. All changes are stored in the electronic timetable information (EFA). An overview of all changes at the SSB can be found on the Internet. For the districts and the entire network, the VVS has set up the site www.vvs.de/deutschlandtour.

The Integrated Traffic Control Center Stuttgart provides information on closures and traffic conditions with traffic reports and via the dynamic traffic information boards.

At www.brezelrace.de, information on restrictions and alternative routes is available on an interactive route map. In addition, the traffic hotline will answer questions by phone on Saturday, July 15, between 1 and 4 p.m. and on Sunday, July 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 07031-6320390.

We ask for your understanding for any restrictions due to the event-related closures and detours.