|Length:||445 km (277 mi)|
|North end:||Hattenbach triangle intersection with the A 7|
|South end:||Swiss border near Basel|
Bundesautobahn 5 (translates from German as Federal Motorway 5, short form Autobahn 5, abbreviated as BAB 5 or A 5) is a 445 km (277 mi) long Autobahn in Germany. Its northern end is the Hattenbach triangle intersection (with the A 7. The southern end is at the Swiss border near Basel. It runs through the German states of Hessen and Baden-Württemberg and connects on its southern ending to the Swiss A 2.
Construction for the first section, between Frankfurt and Darmstadt was started on 23 September 1933 by Adolf Hitler. Propaganda falsely celebrated the project as "the Führer's Autobahn" and "Germany's first Autobahn," but the AVUS race track in Berlin was opened in September 1921. The first public Autobahn was the Cologne-Bonn highway which was inaugurated August 1932 (later called A 555). It was downgraded to a state highway (German: Bundesstrasse) in order to let the Nazi propaganda proclaim that the Reichsautobahn Frankfurt-Darmstadt was the first ever built in Germany.
In 1926, a private association proposed a highway from Hamburg via Frankfurt to Basel (HaFraBa) - these plans were stopped in the Reichstag by a coalition of Communists and Nazis. Hitler still used these plans after he came to power in 1933. Work progressed slowly, however, because Hitler favored east-west routes. The HaFraBa was renamed "Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung der Reichsautobahnen", which translates "Company for the preparation of the Reich highways".
After the war, plans to continue the A 5 to the north were abandoned for ecological reasons. Instead, an already completed section of the proposed A 48 near Gießen was used to connect the A 5 to the A 7 from Hamburg. The HaFraBa route was finally completed in 1962, which led to the A 5 southern route Darmstadt, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Rastatt, Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Weil am Rhein, ending at the Swiss border near Basle, at the Bundesautobahn 98 and B3. Near Frankfurt, the highway is one of the busiest in Germany with an average of 150,000 vehicles per day.
The part between Frankfurt and Darmstadt with a length of about 25 km was the first and still is Germany's longest Autobahn section with 8 lanes. The A5 runs parallel and just west of the Bundesstraße 3 for many kilometers, crossing the B3 near Rastatt. In the city of Karlsruhe, the A5 meets the A 8.
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