November 9, 2001
The past week has seen a more stable situation in transalpine road traffic. HGVs are still largely concentrated on the San Bernardino-route. However, newly-introduced traffic-flow control measures (one-way traffic) have had a positive impact on safety. Also, additional rail transport capacities just before the onset of winter have been able to absorb a further shift from road to rail. It is currently not clear whether it will be possible to open the Gotthard road tunnel before Christmas. DETEC, the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, places road and tunnel safety above all other considerations.
Two weeks after the closure of the Gotthard road tunnel and the resulting transport problems, the situation on transalpine routes has become more stable, at least for the time being. On normal working days, traffic along the four transalpine routes has decreased slightly. Compared with the previous week, the most significant reduction has occurred on Gotthard pass (minus 6,950 vehicles, down to 5,550). In contrast, road-to-rail activity there has increased by 40% over the previous week.
The San Bernardino-route (A13) continues to see a massive concentration of HGVs, at a high but stable rate of 3,600 to 3,700 vehicles per day. The introduction of one-way traffic does seem to have the desired positive impact on transport safety. The transalpine routes in the Valais still have free capacities, with a slight decrease in activity over the previous week. The FEDRO (Swiss Federal Road Authority) has intensified its information campaign for customs offices. In view of the impending winter season, flyers informing drivers of alternative routes will be distributed.
Further increase in transalpine freight transport by rail
In the past week, demand for transalpine rail transport capacities has continued to increase. Transport capacities for individual lorry loads and containers are being utilized almost fully (between 84 and 94 %). In this mode of transport, however, reserve capacities corresponding to approx. 2,000 lorry loads are still available. Should demand increase markedly, owing to worsening road conditions, these reserve capacities could be activated at short notice. Allowing for the usual operational fluctuations over any given day, capacity utilization of the Rolling Highway (ROLA) both at Lötschberg and at Gotthard has stabilized at a high level. Currently available ROLA capacities are being utilized at a rate of between 73 and 74%.
Impending operation of Rolling Highway (ROLA) between Brunnen and Lugano
In order to provide sufficient capacities for transalpine piggyback transport (ROLA) during the winter months, a new Rolling Highway is to start operating between Brunnen and Lugano-Vedeggio as of next Monday [, November 12]. Work is being completed in Brunnen on a provisional access ramp for lorries with a maximum height of 3.8 m. 84 lorries per day will be able to utilize this additional route.
Gotthard road tunnel: opening before Christmas?
It is currently not clear whether it will be possible to open the Gotthard road tunnel to traffic before Christmas. The technical feasibility of such an undertaking, as well as the possibility of limited opening to private vehicles is currently being evaluated. The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), places road and tunnel safety above all other considerations.
Bern, November 9, 2001
DETEC—Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
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