Each kilometer of this highway expansion costs a three-digit million sum. This makes the A100 in Berlin probably Germany’s most expensive and controversial road. Nevertheless, the expansion is progressing, as our satellite images show.
A few days ago they cycled again. Biked on against the “insanity” that, in their view, is currently being built in Berlin’s southeast. Demonstrators, including the Green Party’s top candidate for the Berlin state elections, Bettina Jarasch, chose a bicycle parade to protest against the A100, or more precisely: against the expansion of the Berlin ring road between the districts of Neukölln and Treptow.
The so-called highway section 16, although long under construction, continues to stir Berlin’s emotions. It is stirring the state election campaign, which might be explained by a few figures alone: According to the latest forecasts, the extension, which is just over three kilometers long, could cost 650 to 700 million euros. It is probably the most expensive road in the republic; it is almost certainly the most controversial.
Because all that money isn’t everything, of course. The extension of the A100, the question of whether one is for or against it, stands for more: the future of mobility, the future of the city, the future of the climate. The few kilometers of concrete and asphalt are the scene of debates that would be worthwhile in their own right.
Furthermore, the heating has to do with the fact that the Ring does not actually exist; at least not as a fully developed road (as an S-Bahn very well, it runs almost parallel). From above, the city highway looks more like an unfinished C or G; it starts in the north in Wedding near the disused Tegel airport and then curves around what used to be West Berlin: Charlottenburg. Schöneberg, Tempelhof, Kreuzberg. Then it ends. So far, at least, as our exclusive satellite images also show.
Like many things in the capital, the ring is still unfinished.
That’s how it should stay – say some. To plan and bulldoze another highway through densely populated urban neighborhoods today is insanity. The further extension of the ring road even over the Spree, through the east of Friedrichshain (largely planned as a tunnel) and further into the northern foothills of Prenzlauer Berg is illusory, ludicrously expensive, a relic from the times when the car-friendly city was propagated. Wouldn’t the money be better invested in high-quality public transport and wide cycle paths?
But the accusation of concrete ideology – conversely, it also comes from the favorable opposing side. From those who argue that the extension of the A100, which has now begun, would better connect the (growing) part of the city to the highway network, which is currently suffering from traffic jams and congested roads due to the new BER airport in the southeast.
Or in the words of the federal highway company responsible: “Once the A100 is completed, Berlin’s eastern districts will be better connected to the central ring road and the A113. The accessibility of Berlin Brandenburg Airport and the Adlershof science location as well as the long-range connections to Dresden, Cottbus, and Frankfurt/Oder will be significantly improved as a result.”
The cranes for construction phase 16 have long been circling, but the once planned completion date of 2022 has long since become 2024. This does not diminish the commitment of citizens’ initiatives and political opponents.
The current expansion was approved in 2011 by the then black-red Senate. The current red-red-green state government, however, rejects further expansion. However, the federal government is now responsible for the planning, construction, and financing of federal highways. So far, it wants to stick to further expansion. But it is highly unlikely that the subsequent construction phase 17 northwards across the Spree will ever be started.