Switzerland’s Gotthard tunnel is a key link between northern and southern Switzerland. During the summer holiday season it becomes a major traffic choke point. On Sunday 16 July 2023, traffic queues north of the tunnel stretched as far as 15 kilometres, according to SRF. The waiting time to get to the tunnel was as long as two and a half hours according to the TCS traffic service.
Queues and waiting times were not as long on the southern side. There, the queue reached 5 kilometres with waiting times as long as 50 minutes.
The Gotthard Road Tunnel runs between Göschenen in the canton of Uri (north) and Airolo in the canton of Ticino (south). At 16.9 kilometres in length it was the longest road tunnel in the world when it was built in 1980. It is currently the fifth-longest. The tunnel consists of only one bidirectional tube with one lane in each direction. It is reached on both sides by a motorway with two lanes running in each direction. When driving at the maximum allowed speed of 80km/h, the journey through the tunnel takes around 13 minutes.
There have been discussions on the idea of charging tolls to use the tunnel. The idea has been political resistance. In any case charging a toll will not increase the tunnel’s capacity.
SRF article (in German)
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