Germany closes Autobahn after finding WWII-era bomb

The 1,100-pound bomb ripped a crater that stretches about 75 feet wide and 8 feet deep.

A section of the German Autobahn has been shut down after construction crews stumbled upon an 1,100-pound British bomb built during World War II.

The German government flew in experts to defuse the bomb using chemicals but the process failed. Transporting the 70-year old device to a safe location was deemed too dangerous, so authorities had no choice but to close the freeway and detonate it on location.

The explosion ripped a crater measuring about 75 feet wide and eight feet deep in the east-bound lanes of the A3 Autobahn. Approximately 160 people living in a nearby village named Offenbach had to evacuate their homes because the detonating crew didn't know how big of a blast to expect.

The lane closures and the miscellaneous detours caused a traffic jam that stretched over 7.5 miles, crippling one of Germany's busiest regions. Part of the nearby Frankfurt airport was also closed for about an hour on Tuesday night, delaying 22 flights.

Construction crews are currently working to fill the crater and repair the road. When it will be re-opened to the public is not known.

The local government was only half surprised to hear about the bomb. Frankfurt was almost entirely destroyed during World War II, and Germany's Ministry of Transportation told Spiegel that construction workers typically dig up anywhere between 40 and 60 explosive devices from the war each year in the Hesse state.

Photo courtesy of Spiegel.

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