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Government defends limits for trucks through Gotthard

Several parliamentarians and political parties have asked the cabinet to abandon the alternating one-way system for trucks Keystone Archive

The government says it will keep limits for heavy-goods traffic on the main north-south route, despite growing criticism.

This content was published on March 15, 2002 - 20:09

In response to calls by several parliamentarians and political parties, the cabinet also said it saw no reason to abandon the alternating one-way system for trucks through the Gotthard tunnel.

The statement, published on Friday, rejected allegations that the current traffic management system had led to a chaotic situation on the main transalpine route through central Switzerland.

The government said the current limit of 3,500 trucks per day allowed to cross the Gotthard tunnel was introduced in the interest of smooth traffic on the main motorway, and for the customs authorities at the borders to Germany and Italy respectively.

Safety reasons

It said the one-way traffic system through the tunnel and other measures had to be maintained for safety reasons even after the installation of new ventilation in the tunnel.

The Gotthard tunnel was closed for several weeks following a fatal fire in October as a result of a collision of two trucks. Eleven people died in the blaze.

The government also recommended that hauliers use other routes, besides the Gotthard axis, and put more freight on to the rail ferry.

The authorities said they were studying ways to cope how with the expected increase of road traffic over Easter and other holiday periods under the current system.

Protests

Road Hauliers' organisations in Switzerland and abroad, as well as political parties and other interest groups have repeatedly called on the government to lift restrictions on trucks.

They described the situation on the main north-south motorway through Switzerland as chaotic and intolerable.

The main Swiss hauliers association said the system was blocking traffic instead of increasing safety. It called on the government to ease restrictions by May 1.

On Wednesday, police in canton Ticino closed the Gotthard and San Bernardino tunnels for several hours to trucks travelling north, following heavy congestion.

swissinfo with agencies

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