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Bad weather Gotthard road tunnel reopens

Gotthard tunnel traffic in snow

Morning misery: snow on the southbound motorway towards the Gotthard road tunnel on Saturday

(Keystone)

The Gotthard road tunnel has reopened, Swiss public television SRF and traffic organisation TCS report. It was closed temporarily early Saturday due to snow.

Cars were being allowed through slowly, and conditions were still tricky, canton Uri police told SRF on Saturday morning. The main problem is that many cars have summer tyres and cannot cope with the strong snowfall. 

Several cars skidded across the motorway leading up to the tunnel in the early morning.

By late afternoon the situation had eased, with short delays, the Touring Club of Switzerland TCS said.external link

Friday: affected by grey weather

The situation comes comes after the traditional traffic jam at the Gotthard road tunnel was reported to be shorter than usual on Friday. 

At midday traffic officials reported nine kilometres of traffic, or 1.5 hours wait, less than last year’s 14 kilometres (2.5 hour wait). By 6pm it had dissipated, according to the Swiss news agency SDA-ATS.

Oliver Schürch from the Uri Cantonal Police told Swiss public television SRFexternal link that 2,000 fewer cars than normal were registered on Good Friday morning, that’s a 8% drop.

Outlook

The reasons were the bad weather in the southern canton of Ticino, a well-loved holiday destination at Easter, and the rail tunnel which brings people southwards comfortably and without any traffic jams, he said.

Temperatures were cold across the country on Friday, between 2 and 12 degrees Celsius. Overall March has been one the greyest since measurements began, SRF Meteo said on Thursday. Only in March 1986 did the sun shine less, it said.

More long waits at the Gotthard tunnel are expected for the return journeyexternal link, starting from Sunday afternoon, said Viasuisse, the traffic information organisation. The high point is expected to be Easter Monday, with holidaymakers likely having to be patient for up to four hours between 3pm and 10pm.

In 2016, voters backed the plan to build the second Gotthard road tunnel through the central Swiss Alps.

+ Read more about the project here.

SDA-ATS/SRF/ilj

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