The world's most expensive traffic jam

2001-05-09 13:09

Cologne - Further angering already-stressed rush-hour drivers on their commute home, performance artist HA Schult on Tuesday caused the most expensive traffic jam in the world in central Cologne.

In a street blocked off especially for the occasion, the artist wedged together 19 luxury cars worth a total of over 4 million marks (1.8 million dollars) as part of an auto magazine's award ceremony.

Among the 250 guests were Volkswagen Chief Executive Ferdinand Piech and BMW Chairman Joachim Milberg.

Schult said he had created a work of art that imitates perfectly what happens in real life.

"We no longer live in the stone age, rather in the age of gridlock," Schult said, explaining that drivers ultimately spend most of their time at the wheel sitting in endless traffic tangles rather than getting closer to their destinations.

At least Schult's one-day traffic tie-up was classy: Its participants included a red Ferrari and an Aston-Martin that cost half a million marks.

The exorbitant autos were donated by the car companies.

Schult has caused traffic troubles before. In 1996 he displayed 64 white painted junk cars on the bank of the Rhine in Duesseldorf, an exhibition for which he had to pay a fine of 5000 marks.

- Sapa-DPA