Canton Uri implements new measures to ease Gotthard traffic jams

Canton Uri implements new measures to ease Gotthard traffic jams

Officials in Canton Uri have confirmed that, ahead of the Easter weekend, several new measures will be imposed on drivers travelling via the Gotthard Road Tunnel. The main axis through the Swiss mountains has been plagued with traffic issues in recent years, leading to delays and disruption for local residents.

Authorities place new restrictions on Gotthard traffic

In a bid to reduce congestion, several new regulations will apply in and around the Gotthard Road Tunnel from March 20. As the most popular motorway route through the mountains, the tunnel is used by a huge number of drivers from Switzerland and beyond. At peak times, this leads to heavy traffic jams both north and south of the tunnel.

During Swiss public holidays last year, local authorities measured jams up to 20 kilometres long on either side of the Gotthard, causing hours of delays for travellers. At the same time, many motorists have started to try and avoid the jams by pulling off the motorway early and using local roads to "jump the queue" between junctions, clogging up the roads for locals who live near the tunnel.

New measures to counter Gotthard traffic

As a result, officials in Canton Uri have released new guidelines for using the Gotthard Road Tunnel, which will apply from March 20 until the old Gotthard Pass road is reopened - likely to be in May. Here’s what you need to know about the changes, and when it is best to travel:

Motorway exits ahead of Gotthard Road Tunnel to close

North of the tunnel, the southbound exits for Göschenen and Wassen will be closed if the traffic jam ahead of the Gotthard exceeds three kilometres in length. For non-locals, this will mean that the last place to turn off the motorway during peak times will be at Amsteg - if you continue beyond Amsteg, you will be forced to pass through the tunnel.

If a three-kilometre jam develops, Uri authorities will only allow people who live, work or have a holiday booked in Göschenen to use the closed exits at designated 15-minute intervals. These will be from 6.45am to 7am, 8.15am to 8.30am, 5.15pm to 5.30pm and from 6.45pm to 7pm. 

80-kilometre-an-hour speed limit introduced during the worst jams

If traffic jams north of the tunnel exceed eight kilometres, the speed limit between Altdorf and Amsteg will be reduced to 80 kilometres per hour. Local officials explained that this would slow the number of cars looking to use the tunnel and reduce the risk of road accidents. They added that extra control measures will be implemented on arterial roads around the tunnel as required.

Uri working with the Swiss government to solve traffic problems

Concluding their statement, Canton Uri admitted that traffic jams at the Gotthard have only gotten worse in recent years. They confirmed that they are in contact with the Swiss government and are planning short, medium and long-term solutions to try and solve the problem for good.

When is the best time to use the Gotthard Road Tunnel this Easter?

For those who have to drive through the Gotthard Road Tunnel this Easter, it is best to avoid the peak rush hour times of 6am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm. Southbound traffic is expected to be heaviest on March 28 and 29, while northbound traffic will be most severe on April 1 and 2.

If you choose to travel during peak times, it is recommended to factor in an extra 20 to 60 minutes to your total travel time. To stay regularly updated regarding disruption at the Gotthard, consult the live forecast from Touring Club Switzerland.

Thumb image credit: Stefano Ember /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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