Major traffic jams expected in Switzerland at Christmas: What you need to know
The latest Christmas traffic “forecast” for Swiss roads and motorways has been released by the Federal Roads Office (Astra). In all, the government expects severe road traffic around Christmas and New Year in 2022 / 23. Here are the roads to avoid in Switzerland this festive season.
People in Switzerland expected to hit the road this Christmas
Whether it's to visit friends and family or to go on holiday, a lot of people are expected to be on the move this Christmas. With all major COVID restrictions gone, authorities in Switzerland are expecting chaotic scenes at airports, on public transport and on the roads.
To help drivers in Switzerland prepare for the coming weeks, Astra has released its traffic forecast for between Christmas and mid-January. These are the roads that are expected to be busiest:
Roads in Switzerland to avoid between December 24, 2022 and January 8, 2023
Between December 22 and January 8, 2023, the government expects heavy traffic on the A1, 2, 3, 9 and 13 motorways. Traffic jams will be most common around Swiss cities like Zurich, Bern, Basel, Lucerne and Lugano, as well as passes through the mountains like the San Bernardino Pass and Gotthard Road Tunnel.
Specifically, Astra is expecting frequent and severe traffic jams on the following stretches of road:
- A1: around Zurich, Bern and Lausanne, and between Härkingen and Wangen an der Aare.
- A2: around Basel, Lucerne, and before and after the Gotthard Road Tunnel.
- A3: between Walenstadt and Reichenburg.
- A6: around Bern.
- A8: between Interlaken and Spiez and between Sarnen and the Lopper junction.
- A13: between Sarganserland and Rothenbrunnen.
- A14: around Lucerne.
- A28: between Landquart and Klosters.
Traffic warnings have also been issued on major roads in the mountains like alpine passes to ski resorts and roads in the Bernese Oberland, Graubünden and Valais. Waiting times for car trains at Furka, Lötschberg and Vereina are also expected to be longer during the Christmas period.
Traffic jams expected on North-South axis in Switzerland
The majority of traffic will be heading southbound in the first and second week of the Christmas holidays, with heavy northbound traffic expected between January 1 and 8, 2023. Astra has advised drivers to avoid peak times in the morning and evening, and to not divert to secondary routes unless absolutely necessary, as they want to avoid congestion in smaller towns and cities.
For more information about the forecast, please consult the official press release (in German).