TCS forecast warns of daily delays at the Gotthard this summer

TCS forecast warns of daily delays at the Gotthard this summer

While the summer is by far the most popular time of year to venture out on holiday, everyone trying to get away at the same time does have its consequences on the roads: Touring Club Switzerland (TCS) has warned that thanks to damage to alternate routes, there will be a traffic jam at the Gotthard Road Tunnel every day of the summer this year.

Gotthard traffic jams to become a daily occurrence, say TCS

In a statement, TCS wrote that from now until the end of August, “exceptionally heavy traffic on Swiss roads” and motorways will be near-constant. This will be most apparent at the end of July, when the Dutch, German and Swiss school holidays are in full swing and families from across northern Europe head south to vacation.

As a result, traffic jams “will form daily in both directions in front of the Gotthard” - the main route between Swiss cities (and by extension northern Europe) and Italy. "This summer, we can expect traffic jams that could easily exceed 10 kilometres in front of the two portals of the Gotthard tunnel," the TCS warned.

San Bernardino closure to impact traffic in Switzerland

The main reason for the dire warning is the closure of the San Bernardino Pass, after a 200-metre section of the A13 was swept away by a rockslide. With its closure, the approximately 12.000 vehicles that use the road every day during peak summer will mostly be rerouted to the Gotthard, making traffic jams doubly likely.

While one lane of the A13 in both directions was reopened to motorists on July 5, full operation is not expected until the end of the year, which will likely lead to large delays on both roads.

When is the best time to drive through Switzerland in summer 2024?

Between June 27 and August 11, only 11 days are expected to have “normal traffic levels” north and south of the Gotthard. These are June 27, every Tuesday and Wednesday in July (with the exception of July 30 and 31), and August 6 and 7. 

Traffic will be “very intense” - delays of two hours should be expected - on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in June, July and August, and between July 31 and August 4 thanks to Swiss National Day. “Intense traffic” has been forecast on all remaining days, meaning drivers should add an extra hour to journey times. On all days, motorists are encouraged to travel early in the morning and late in the evening to avoid the worst traffic.

Alternate routes through the Swiss Alps

In terms of alternatives, the Great Saint Bernard route, the Mont Blanc Tunnel west of Geneva and the Lötschberg car train could all be faster than the Gotthard, depending on your route, but these axes are also expected to be very busy. Finally, Transport Minister Albert Rösti advised travellers to take public transport instead, with Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) expected to add extra connections through the mountains to its timetable this summer.

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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