Gotthard Road Tunnel sets new record for number of traffic jams
When travelling on the motorway through the Swiss mountains, it’s a good idea to prepare for delays if you plan to go through the Gotthard Road Tunnel. New data from the Tages-Anzeiger has revealed that July 2022 saw the largest amount of traffic ever recorded on the Gotthard in one month.
Record amount of traffic recorded on the Gotthard in Switzerland
In July of this year, Swiss police recorded 350 hours of traffic jams in and around the Gotthard Road Tunnel - a new monthly record. For comparison, in July 2019, the emergency services only recorded 265 hours of traffic on Switzerland’s busiest road. This follows similar trends from data earlier in the year which found there were 44 percent more traffic jams recorded in 2021 than in 2020.
SRF explained that the traffic jams - which can stretch over 15 kilometres - are mainly caused by a lack of capacity. As there is only one lane in either direction, drivers are forced to queue for the tunnel in order to get through, leading to hour-long delays at peak times during the school summer holidays. Despite construction beginning on a second road tunnel - so that the first one can be renovated - Swiss law prohibits any expansion of traffic in the area, meaning that the route will remain a single lane for the foreseeable future.
Jammed motorway forcing drivers through small Swiss villages
Despite attempts by the police to prevent the practice, the incredibly congested motorway often convinces drivers to try their hand at going over the Gotthard Pass - the old main route between the Northern Alps and Italy, before the tunnel opened in 1980. This has caused much anger among the residents of Erstfeld, Amsteg and Wassen, who now have large amounts of traffic and noise going past their windows every day.
To try and solve the problem, Heidi Z'graggen, Council of States member for Canton Uri, has called on the Federal Roads Office to change the “unsustainable conditions” for locals in the area. Road closures, driving bans for certain vehicles and an emergency turnoff lane for locals have all been floated as potential solutions. However, for tourists and travellers making their way through the tunnel, the jams are expected to continue for many years to come.