The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Bad weather in the south unlikely to prevent Easter traffic jams

Despite the forecast of continuous rain in the south, there is likely to be a traffic jam in front of the Gotthard north portal from today, Wednesday. Astra spokesman Thomas Rohrbach said this on Swiss radio SRF on Wednesday morning. The affected cantons are taking various traffic metering measures to prevent the resulting diversion of traffic through villages.

The canton of Graubünden, for example, which is affected by the alternative route via the San Bernardino, is introducing so-called "restraint posts". According to cantonal engineer Reto Knuchel, these should lead to "an artificial backlog on the cantonal road network with the idea that traffic remains on the national highway", as he said on the radio.

The road network in the canton of Nidwalden may also be affected by the traffic jam due to roadworks on the A2. Should traffic jams occur, the canton intends to prevent traffic jams by means of traffic lights at the north-side tunnel portal in Beckenried. As a result, however, longer traffic jams are possible in front of the north portal of the Seelisberg tunnel.

To this end, the highway entrances in Beckenried and Buochs are to be closed to private traffic in the southbound direction, depending on the congestion situation. This is intended to prevent a traffic collapse on the parallel cantonal road due to the traffic diversion.

Dosing system already in place in Uri

A relief measure is already in force in the canton of Uri. There, the entrances in Göschenen and Wassen will be closed in the southbound direction as soon as traffic starts to build up over a length of three kilometers. This means that the only way to travel south from Amsteg will be via the highway. If this scenario occurs, the Göschenen entrance will be opened four times a day for 15 minutes at a time: From 06.45 to 7 am, from 8.15 to 8.30 am, from 5.15 to 5.30 pm and from 6.45 to 7 pm.

If traffic is backed up for eight kilometers, the speed on the freeway between Altdorf and Amsteg will be reduced to 80 kilometers per hour. This is intended to slow down traffic and reduce the risk of accidents. In addition, the exits in Erstfeld and Amsteg will be metered depending on the load on the cantonal road.

Excursionists also travel to the mountains

According to the Federal Roads Office (Astra), Easter traffic will start early on Wednesday afternoon. From this time onwards, as well as on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, travelers will have to bring more time and nerves with them.

According to the Federal Office, some day trippers will also travel to the ski resorts due to the early Easter date. Particular attention should be paid to the weather conditions on these routes. According to SRF Meteo, a cold front is expected to move across Switzerland from west to east from Wednesday, bringing the most precipitation on the southern side of the Alps with 30 to 70 millimetres. Snow is also expected and the risk of avalanches is likely to increase.

"Traffic jam on the Gotthard" year after year

The traffic jam at the Gotthard has been a recurring event for years. The record for the length of traffic jams since the Gotthard Tunnel opened in 1980 was set in 1998, when the onset of winter at Easter led to a traffic jam 25 kilometers long. In second place is Good Friday 2022 with a traffic jam length of 22 kilometers. This meant a waiting time of three and a half hours.

©Keystone/SDA

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