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Good Friday, bad Gotthard traffic

Spot the difference: traffic queues at the motorway A2 southbound at the Gotthard tunnel between Goeschenen and Erstfeld, northbound is largely free

Long queues have been reported at the Gotthard tunnel in central Switzerland as holidaymakers head south for the Easter break.

The traffic jam at the northern end of the tunnel stands at 12 kilometres, with a wait of almost two hours, the Touring Club of Switzerlandexternal link (TCS) said on Friday morning.

However, according to Swiss public television SRFexternal link, the tailback is 14km long, and is expected to get worse during the day. The closure of the Gotthard, San Bernadino and Great St Bernhard passes due to wintry conditions means that these alternative routes are not available, but various other routes, like the Simplon tunnel are possible, it said.

Traffic started to build up on Thursday evening, as this clip from SRF news shows.

gotthard srf

Gotthard holidays traffic jam

Easter queues are traditional at the tunnel. Last Saturday, there were up to 14km of tailbacks at the Gotthard because some cantons had already started the spring holidays.

Main axis

The 17-kilometre Gotthard tunnel, which runs from Göschenen to Airolo under the famous Gotthard pass, is one of the main thoroughfares through central Switzerland, linking the German-speaking north with the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino in the south. A separate, 57-kilometre train line – unveiled in 2016 as the longest in the world – also cuts through the mountain.

In February 2016, Swiss voters gave the go-ahead to build a second road tunnel, to allow for renovations of the existing infrastructure and ensure better connections between north and south. Opponents had argued that the project was a threat to plans to cap transalpine road traffic and force heavy-weight trucks onto rail.

The new tunnel, which is estimated to cost around CHF2.7 billion ($2.8 billion), will open in 2030 at the earliest.

Full story here
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