|Parts of this article (those related to completed Heiligenhafen extension) are outdated. (September 2015)|
|Length:||730 km (450 mi)|
|States:||Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Niedersachsen, Bremen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland|
Bundesautobahn 1 (translates from German as Federal Motorway 1, short form Autobahn 1, abbreviated as BAB 1 or A 1) is an autobahn in Germany. It runs from Heiligenhafen in Schleswig-Holstein to Saarbrücken, a distance of 730 km (450 mi), but is incomplete between Cologne and Trier. B 207 continues north from Heiligenhafen to Puttgarden, at the end of the island of Fehmarn, with a ferry to Rødby, Denmark.
The part north of Hamburg is part of the Vogelfluglinie (Flying bird line) and may be one day connected via a fixed link to Denmark (see below). The term Hansalinie (Hansa line) refers to the part from Lübeck (north of Hamburg, thus overlapping the Vogelfluglinie) south to the Ruhr Area (near Dortmund).
Congestion and speed limits
The road has either two or three lanes each way. Congestion is possible around Hamburg, during holiday periods between Hamburg and Münster, between Dortmund and Cologne because of roadworks and especially around Cologne. During the rush hour the Cologne Beltway (junctions 98 - 104) is very busy (AADT 100,000-120,000). It is three lanes each way. The speed limit on the Cologne Beltway is mostly 100 km/h. Northbound between junctions 103 and 102 as well as between 101 and 100 the speed limit has recently been raised to 120 km/h.
South of the Cologne Beltway the A1 has two lanes each way between junctions 104 and 107. There is a speed limit of 120 km/h northbound between junctions 105 and 104, otherwise this section has no speed limit. Between junction 107 and 109 the A1 and A61 run concurrently. The motorway has three lanes each way and a variable speed limit here.
The A 1 and A 2 were first planned in the 1920s. The interchange between the two (Kamener Kreuz) was one of the first cloverleaf interchanges in Germany, opened in 1937. A 1 around the southern side of Hamburg was opened in 1962, including a bridge across the Elbe. This bypass connected the existing Autobahn segments on both sides of the city.
The A 1 is still being extended north, with an extension to Heiligenhafen-North planned for opening in 2011. A treaty has been entered between Germany and Denmark for the construction of a fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt to Denmark. As part of the treaty, Germany will also extend the A 1 to Puttgarden, with the exception of the Fehmarn Sound Bridge between the mainland and Fehmarn island, which will remain in its current state.
The Vulkaneifel interchange with the A 48, just south of the 36 km long gap in the A 1 south of Cologne, was built in the 1970s. This interchange was finally utilized in the present century, though only for local traffic as the A1 is being extended past Kelberg. Plans have been made to complete the remaining 21 km over the Land borders between North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, but this will take till 2018 before it is ready. Until then, through traffic between the two sections uses the A 48 and the A 61 and various regional roads.
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