Voters in canton Uri have opted against the construction of a second road tunnel under the Gotthard in preparation for expansion work to be carried out in the 2020s.
The initiative was put forward by the youth branch of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party. Voters also rejected a similar counter initiative proposed by the cantonal government.
The result has been seen as a victory for the non-governmental Alpine Initiative group which aims to protect the alpine environment from increasing road traffic.
The motorway under the Gotthard massif, often the scene of long bottlenecks, is one of the few major roads linking northern Europe to Italy, and is therefore popular with holidaymakers heading south in summer.
Meanwhile progress continues on the world’s longest rail tunnel, the Gotthard base tunnel. After achieving breakthrough on the two single track tunnels, the next task is to line each of the 57-kilometre tunnels and install the infrastructure.
AlpTransit Gotthard, the company building the tunnel, is due to hand it over to Swiss Federal Railways at the end of May 2016. It is scheduled to open to traffic in 2017.
swissinfo.ch and agencies