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Bumpy German roads ominous for economy

Merkel's pursuit of a 'balanced budget' has resulted in disrepair of roads and bridges which may jeopardise the country's growth prospects

Frankfurt

For SMS Siemag AG, a pothole isn't just a pothole.

The maker of metal-processing plants, which ships products around the world, says damaged bridges make getting them from its headquarters in Hilchenbach, Germany, to harbours such as Hamburg or Antwerp the hardest part. Transport of parts that weigh between 50 tonnes and 300 tonnes takes four times longer than it did in 2010 and has become five times more expensive.

The disrepair of Germany's roads and bridges is at odds with the perception of a nation known for the autobahn and has become a symbol of an infrastructure neglect that may jeopardise the country's growth prospects. Calls for greater investment clash with Chancellor Angela...

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