Party time - no autos on autobahn

Last updated 07:37 19/07/2010
Autobahn party
AUTOBAHN PARTY: Party time on one of Germany's busiest roads brought traffic to a standstill.

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Germany's autobahns are renowned for average speeds well in excess of 130kph. But the average dropped near zero Sunday as tens of thousands of people sat at a 60km table for a cultural celebration appropriately titled "Still Life."

Cars were strictly verboten.

"Attention on the A40," a radio traffic report warned. "There is a 60-kilometre closure between Duisburg and Dortmund due to the longest table in the world."

A festival spokesman said an estimated three million people turned out amid fine weather, one million of them with their bicycles, to celebrate on the highway between Dortmund and Bochum, in western Germany.

Tens of thousands sat at the table, which was made up of 20,000 individual tables, spokesman Oliver Haenig, said.

The highway, which crosses North Rhine-Westphalia state, is normally one of Europe's busiest.

The event was part of a wider cultural festival celebrating the Ruhr region. It was chosen by the European Union this year as a European Capital of Culture 2010 - the first time the distinction went to an area rather than a city.

Germany has no general speed limit for its famous autobahns. Cars often speed up to 200kph or more. In dense or dangerous areas, drivers are often required to slow down to 120kph.

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- AP

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