History of the a72

History of the a72

The further detailed planning and the supervision of the construction took over three local construction lines (BARen) of the OBR Dresden. Responsible for the track Hof – Treuen was the BAR Plauen, which was founded on 01.02.Was set up in 1935. Plan documents were to be worked out for the routing of a Reichsautobahn extension line with the then valid standard cross-section (RQ) of initially only 15.00 meters. This RQ 15 consisted of a roadway with four narrowed lanes without a central reservation. It was designed in the early days of the Reichsautobahn construction especially for end routes. For highways with subordinate traffic load. Since this cross-section was abandoned in the mid-1930s, it was only used on the Blockland section near Bremen and on the Gliwice-Beuthen freeway, the latter section still having this RQ 15 today. For the further stretch to Hartenstein on 01.03.1937 the BAR Zwickau established. In addition, already existed since the 16.03.In 1934, the BAR Chemnitz, which, however, was initially concerned with the construction of today's BAB A4 and at the beginning of 1937 also took over the construction management of the section from Hartenstein to the Chemnitz freeway junction.

The routing of the A72 motorway presented the planners with difficult tasks, both in terms of the terrain and with regard to the dense settlement of the Vogtland region. Running parallel to the Ore Mountains, the highway crosses a series of northwest-draining valleys alternating with the intervening ridges, necessitating seven major viaducts. It was also necessary to bypass the numerous roadside villages, some of them kilometers long, which in a few cases involved demolishing houses. After the elaboration of different variants, the route of the freeway was basically fixed between autumn 1935 and spring 1937: The freeway branches off in the northwest of Chemnitz in the Pleißebach valley from the Gera – Dresden operating line in a southerly direction and is determined by a few existing, random gaps in Siegmar-Schönau up to the Chemnitz-Süd junction. The Chemnitz-Süd junction, which was to be built on a purely motor road, was given a full cloverleaf in the process. After passing through the broad floodplains of the Würschnitz valley, the route gradually climbs to the heights lying to the west of Stollberg. This crossing proved to be necessary, as the route would have been exposed to the danger of subsidence if it had been shifted to the west into a coal mining area. The crossing of the village of Zschocken was initially planned as a 120 m long steel bridge, but it was later decided to lower the gradient and bring the route closer to the existing buildings. Near Hartenstein on the Hohe Strasse, the line found offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Erzgebirge mountains while descending into the valley of the Zwickauer Mulde river.

Extraordinary difficulties were caused by the crossing of the Zwickauer Mulde and the Culitzsch valley, caused by the rugged terrain and the dense development of the town of Wilkau-Haßlau with its many factories. While the route has so far mainly crossed meadows and farmland, the more densely wooded sections of the Vogtland Highway begin west of Niedercrinitz. Near Waldkirchen, the route reaches its most beautiful vantage point on the Marienhöhe, 493 m above sea level. On request Dr. Todt, the highway was routed as far as possible on the front side of the hilltop in order to preserve the view of the Ore Mountains for as long as possible. In addition, the construction of rest areas on both sides was planned at this point.

High viaducts cross the Göltzschtal, the Triebtal and the Friesenbachtal near Plauen respectively. At Taltitz, the Elster reservoir, which was already planned at that time, will come right up to the embankment of the freeway. Parking lots were to be built on both sides of the bridge to provide bathing facilities. Near Pirk, the highway overcomes the deepest valley of the Vogtland line with the Elstertal Bridge. A bastion-like extension of the Hof abutment allowed for resting places immediately adjacent to the structure. After that, the autobahn rises again, reaching its highest point at 576.40 meters at Butterhübel, near the Saxony/Bavaria state border. In the midst of an extensive forest area, the highway then crosses near the medieval castle site "Altes Schloß" the Sächsische Saale river and meanders on to Stegenwaldhaus station, where it joins the existing Berlin – Munich line. Since the Plauen line was to be carried out here under today's BAB A 9, the necessary crossing structure was already built in 1935/36 during the construction of the north-south highway by the OBR Nuremberg.

The construction work (1935-1942)

The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Vogtland autobahn was held on 17.04.1935 the Reich Governor of Saxony and the then GI, Dr. Todt, near Plauen through. However, this groundbreaking ceremony had only a symbolic character, since BAR Plauen was still busy with land acquisition and construction preparation work at that time. The earthworks to be carried out were divided into numerous lots. Awarded to smaller Vogtland construction companies. It was not until the summer of 1935 that the surveying team was deployed. The route from Plauen in the direction of Treuen was marked out with flags visible from afar. Shortly afterwards, earthworks also began on the 15.8 km long section between Pirk and the Triebtal bridge. Shovel excavators and lorries were available for the construction of the roadway, the tracks of which were always to be adapted to the growing earth structure. In addition, a large number of Reichsautobahn camps were set up off the route to accommodate non-resident construction workers. At the same time as the earthworks, the construction of bridges began in the entire section from Pirk to Treuen. To overcome the valleys of the Friesenbach and the still undammed Trieb, two large bridges had to be built in the first construction phase. Since the Vogtland region is the home of stone viaducts, the Dresden OBR took the view from the outset that the viaducts of the Vogtland autobahn should also be built as stone bridges. Thus, at a time when there was still no shortage of steel, the Dresden OBR received approval to construct five of seven viaducts as arch bridges. In addition, arched overpasses were to be built over the autobahn at Vielau and Hartenstein. While the first section of the Vogtland Motorway was already in the middle of construction, suddenly on 05.09.1935 the Reichsautobahndirektion Berlin to abandon the originally chosen cross-section of supplementary sections. Instead, the design was to be based on the standard cross-section (RQ) 24 that applied throughout the Reich, but initially only one directional lane with two-way traffic was to be built because of the low traffic load. In order to ensure emergency stops on both sides of the road, the inner shoulder was also built to a width of 1.00 meter. Between March 1936 and December 1936, construction work began on a further 22 km between the Triebtal bridge and the Zwickau-West junction. The earthworks in the first construction phase were followed in February 1937 by the construction of the road surface. A concrete roadway was planned for the entire route. Only between the Plauen-Süd and -Ost junctions was a 6.3 km long section paved with cobblestones in order to be able to better compensate for the expected settlements there later on. Already on 03.06.In 1938, the first section of the Vogtland freeway between the Pirk and Treuen junctions was opened to traffic in one lane, and this was followed in the same year by the construction of the second section on 04.12.1938 the connecting section between Treuen and Zwickau-West. In the area of the Plauen-Süd junction, a 0.8 km long section was constructed with two lanes at once. In spring 1937, construction work began on the section between the Stollberg junction and the Chemnitz interchange. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, this section could be completed on 15 December 1935.08.Opened for traffic in 1939. In the area between Chemnitz-Süd and the Chemnitz interchange, this section already had the two-lane special cross-section SQ 21, which is still characterized by a median strip only 1.00 m wide due to the dense development near the city of Chemnitz. For this 6.7 km long section, the Dresden OBR decided in favor of a two-lane expansion, since the cramped conditions of the special cross-section in the case of a full expansion would have forced the OBR, for construction reasons, to close the first lane completely. The construction of the bridges would have forced the construction of a new roadway and a detour of the traffic by the city of Chemnitz would not have been justifiable. From July 1938 to January 1939, all remaining sections of the Vogtland freeway between the Bavarian Vogtland freeway junction and Pirk and between the Zwickau-West and Stollberg junctions were also under construction. The GI ordered a further change in the cross-section while construction was still in progress. Instead of the previously valid RQ 24, RQ 28.5 was to be used on all new sections. For the first time, this standard cross-section had 2.25 m wide right-hand edge strips, which were to take over the function of a hard shoulder. Although the earthworks were already in full swing, the BAR Zwickau was extraordinarily flexible and realized an SQ 26.5, which was only distinguished from the RQ 28.5 by narrower verges. The Hartenstein to Stollberg section was opened for traffic as early as April 1940, and the Zwickau-West to Hartenstein section was opened in July 1940. The earthworks between the Hof/Töpen junction, which had already been largely completed in spring 1939. Small squeezes no longer allowed a subsequent change in the cross-section. As a result, the road surface here did not receive a hard shoulder. On the other hand, RQ 28.5 was ordered for the first time during construction for the section between the Bavarian Vogtland freeway junction and Hof/Töpen, where earthworks had not yet progressed so far. In this section, too, there was an enormous shortage of manpower during the war, so that two underpasses were built only on one side without an internal brick wall, and in two underpasses no earthworks were carried out for the crossing roads. Furthermore, the completion of the plenum for the second carriageway was waived for reasons of time. At the R 173 flyover (today's Hof-Nord junction), on the wing's ashlar facing. The opening to traffic of the section between Heroldsgrün. Hof/Töpen was not completed until September 1940 due to the problems described above. This meant that today's A72 autobahn could be used throughout, with the exception of two short sections between the Bavarian Vogtland interchange and Heroldsgrün (1.9 km) and between Kleinzöbern and Pirk (4.3 km), where traffic had to switch to the R173.

Curious traffic routing occurred at the Hof/Töpen and Hartenstein junctions, where traffic crossed the autobahn at the same level due to only one extended junction arm. In addition, there were still some level crossings with agricultural roads near Zwickau until 1942, since the last work on the flyover structures was carried out there under traffic. Even after September 1940, construction work continued feverishly on the two missing sections, but had to be completely suspended in May 1942 as a result of the war. At this time, four underpasses and one bridge had been completed on one half of the 4.3 km long section between Kleinzöbern and Pirk. The earthworks for the southern carriageway were also completely finished, except for the ramps of the Elster valley bridge; and a 2.7 km long single-lane carriageway lay uselessly in the landscape. The Bavarian Vogtland interchange, the last section of the Vogtland autobahn, was not completed until January 1939. In addition, two further bridge structures were started to accommodate the Berlin-Chemnitz tangent roadway, but they did not progress beyond the construction of the substructures. At the end of the construction work in 1942, 7.0 million Reichsmark had been spent with an average occupancy of 800 workers.

The operating service

The operational service was taken over by the established road maintenance department (SM) Plauen from summer 1938 onwards. Initially housed provisionally in a barracks, it did not move into its final building in Plauen-Oberlosa until after the war. In spring 1939, with the extension of the autobahn to Zwickau-West, an SM base was added at the Treuen junction. From Chemnitz, the freeway was serviced by the SM Stollberg from summer 1939 onwards. After the war, the Autobahnmeisterei (AM) Chemnitz took its place. Both road maintenance teams performed their duties until the complete discontinuation of the Reichsautobahn operational service in May 1943. From now on, the use of all Reichsautobahn routes was "at your own risk". There was only one parking lot on the entire Vogtland route. While a plant near Waldkirchen. Further resting places were put aside at the beginning of the war for the time being and were not executed thereafter. At the height of the Plauen-Süd junction. Zwickau East were planned in the triangular islands on both sides gas stations. The gas station in the southern arm of the Zwickau-Ost junction, which was already under construction at the beginning of the war, did not get beyond the construction of the foundations. Instead, during the war, a so-called "tank aid" was built near Treuen, but only for small amounts of fuel. With the discontinuation of service in May 1943, most of these devices also disappeared again. Due to the Second World War, work on a continuous Reichsautobahn telecommunications cable from Hof to Chemnitz was also discontinued, so that no emergency call pillars were available along the route until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Until recently, in Bavaria, the operational kilometer system introduced in 1940, starting from Dresden, was still valid. It passed the Chemnitz interchange at km 75.805 and ended at the Bavarian Vogtland interchange at km 182.794. Corresponding kilometer stones were set up in the central reservation and were even ready for the unfinished sections near Heroldsgrün and Pirk. In Saxony in the 1950s, a new operational mileage system with a count beginning in Chemnitz replaced the old mileage system. Fortunately, the Vogtland autobahn suffered little damage during the withdrawal of German troops toward the end of World War II. Only three bridge structures were damaged, so that the route had an exceptionally low structure destruction rate of only about 2%. The only major damage was to the viaduct over the Saxon Saale river. A Reichsbahn underpass near Chemnitz on. The damage to the road surface remained within tolerable limits. On individual sections, tanks caused considerable damage to the outer verges by driving in and over during the war. In the busier section, especially between Zwickau and Chemnitz, cracks in the concrete pavement were becoming more frequent. Another consequence of the failure to provide operational service was the almost complete undermining of the central reservation from Chemnitz to Zwickau by mice. Between Heroldsgrün and the junction Hof/Töpen there was also the planum of the 2. The roadway had not been completed and compacted, so that small trees had already grown by wind seeding, and by the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 they had grown into a stately forest.

The post-war period (from 1945)

Already on 12.09.In 1944, the Allies had signed the "Protocol on the Future Occupation Zones in Germany" in London signed, according to which the areas should be oriented essentially to the old country borders. With the surrender of Germany on 08.05.In 1945, the agreed borders came into force. Nevertheless, this historic date did not initially change the trafficability of the Vogtland freeway, since all interzone traffic had to be routed via Plauen due to the destroyed Saale valley bridge in the course of the Berlin – Munich freeway. Due to the ever-increasing wave of refugees, the inner-German border was closed for the first time on 30.06.Closed for four months in 1946 by the Soviet Administration in Germany (SMAD). A control council decree demanded by the SMAD, which only allowed owners of so-called interzone passports to cross the border, then came into force on the 29th of September.10.1946 in force. With the establishment of the freeway border control post "Heinersgrün" the autobahn was therefore passable again from October 1946 onwards. The almost 40-year silence returned only with the closure of the Heinersgrün border control post on 01.10.1951, when at the same time the new Töpen/Juchhöh crossing was established and long-distance traffic was routed via the federal and long-distance road 2. The unfinished Bavarian Vogtland freeway interchange, which could only be bypassed via the B 173 between the Naila/Selbitz junction and Heroldsgrün, proved to be a particular traffic bottleneck time and again in this traffic routing. For this reason, the then Autobahnbauamt Nordbayern (Northern Bavaria Motorway Construction Authority) rapidly continued the construction of the route and handed over the road on 24.06.1963, the Nuremberg-Chemnitz route was opened to traffic. On 01.10.In 1966, the Chemnitz – Nuremberg rail link could also be opened. With the reconstruction of the war-damaged Saale Bridge in the course of the BAB A 9 and its opening to traffic on 20.12.In 1966, the arduous rerouting of traffic via Töpen/Juchhöh was eliminated, and the long-distance route Berlin – Munich was continuously passable again for the first time since 1945. However, the Hof-Nord branch, later called the BAB A722, was effectively cut off from long-distance traffic, and until it was reopened on 19.11.1989 virtually into nothing.

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