What are the components of a motorway

Hardly anyone knows the components of a motorway, but a motorway consists of more than just lanes and guard rails.

I would like to bring you closer to the most important components of the motorway and show you the possibilities when it comes to repairing or renewing the road.

With this information it is at least easier to understand why we are always confronted with construction sites and why little will change in the future.

Table of Contents

Components of the Autobahn

The components of the motorway are complex

Most people think a motorway consists primarily of lanes and crash barriers, far from it, the subject is more complex than expected.

A distinction is first made roughly between two types from highways:

  • Asphalt highway
  • Concrete highway

The components of the motorway are included in both variants Advantages and disadvantages afflicted.

On the asphalt motorway, there is the newer, whispered asphalt in addition to conventional asphalt. In contrast to normal asphalt, the whispered asphalt can absorb rolling noises and thus prevents their occurrence with air evacuation.

Advantages of asphalt:

  • Cheaper
  • Damage can be repaired more easily

Disadvantages of asphalt:

  • More susceptible to ruts and potholes

Advantages of concrete:

  • More stable and durable
  • Slabs are laid and dowelled on concrete motorways

Disadvantages of concrete:

Cost of an asphalt motorway

A new asphalt surface course costs around EUR 20 per square meter

If the entire carriageway is to be renewed, the costs are EUR 80 per square meter.

Driving on highways

In addition to the dangerous ruts, which are primarily created by heavy-duty vehicles, are special potholes and Blow-ups to call.

potholes arise again and again and can hardly be avoided, with water penetrating the road surface through cracks.

In winter this water then freezes to ice, expands and lifts the asphalt. As soon as the ice has thawed again, there are cavities under the road surface.

As soon as heavier vehicles drive over it, the asphalt begins to break and a pothole develops.

At a Blow-up the process looks like this:

Concrete expands as a result of intense heat and warmth. Usually, the heat can escape on newer roads, but not on older roads.

This is where the heat accumulates and cannot escape, creating tension under the road surface and sooner or later the road will burst, creating a blow-up.

List of the components of the motorway

  • Lanes
  • Guard rails
  • Emergency telephones
  • Noise barriers
  • Concrete barriers
  • Fiber optic cable
  • Ruts
  • Visibility sensors
  • Protective wall
  • Border lines
  • Variable message signs (illuminated)

Fiber optic cable supply the traffic cameras and sensors and thus establish a transmission. Data is collected and made available.

Visibility sensors recognize fog, for example, and ideally regulate the speed limit if necessary, for example to reduce rear-end collisions.

Also wear for enhanced security Border lines at, they warn if a driver leaves the lane. Lane assistants in modern vehicles are dependent on this and are based on it.

Variable message signs must always be obeyed and have priority, they depend on traffic volume and weather conditions.

One notices immediately that a lot of money has already been invested in terms of “security” and the technology is ready, the costs are immense in the long term.

Nevertheless, road safety is still mainly in the hands of motorists.

useful information

Between April and October prevails on German autobahns "High season"Unfortunately, this also falls directly into the summer holidays and hits some vacationers, while the components of the motorway are put through their paces.

The reason for this is obvious, because asphalt adheres optimally when it is "hot" and thus also binds better. Working on the streets is therefore usually optimally possible in summer.

Even in winter some things are repaired by the building authorities and master craftsmen, more badly than right.


The components of the motorway are diverse and the costs are very high, unfortunately little will change in the future, because traffic is increasing rather than decreasing.

Furthermore, the motorways and roads are not getting “younger” either, so there is always “potential for improvement” or a complete road renewal is necessary.

The taxpayers pay the costs, but if you look at the possible costs, you will understand why the state cannot and will not simply raise these sums.

In my opinion, “heavy haulage” and heavy vehicles are particularly important, because they speed up problems such as potholes and ruts.

In any case, the problem will not change much and all roads and highways cannot be exchanged in the blink of an eye.

Compliance with the speed limit and the attention of motorists is required, also to recognize corresponding "problem areas" and to report them to the appropriate points.

Let's see how the dear transport minister gets these problems under control.

Author in the car blog: Janus Schulz



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CategoriesGeneral, Tips and TricksTagsAsphalt, Autobahn, Concrete, The components of the Autobahn, roadway