The transalpine tunnel in central Switzerland is closed to traffic at both ends due to an accident on Monday afternoon.This content was published on August 19, 2019 - 16:00
According to first reports, five people have been injured, and the tunnel was closed in both directions. Rescue and evacuation operations are ongoing, a spokesperson for the Uri Cantonal Police told news agency SDA-Keystone. The cause of the accident was a car that veered the wrong way and collided into a motor home travelling in the right direction. Both vehicles had Dutch number plates and the collision happened a little after 13:45 on Monday.
According to the Swiss Touring Club (TCS) website, the Gotthard tunnel will remain closed until 6pm. Motorists are advised to use the Simplon or Grand St-Bernard roads to cross the Alps.
The 17-kilometre (11-mile) Gotthard tunnel, which runs from Göschenen to Airolo under the famous Gotthard pass, is one of the main thoroughfares through central Switzerland. It links the German-speaking north with the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino in the south. A separate, 57-kilometre train line – unveiled in 2016 as the longest in the world – also cuts through the mountain.
In February 2016, Swiss voters gave the go-ahead to build a second road tunnel, to allow for renovations of the existing infrastructure and ensure better connections between north and south.
Opponents had argued that the project was a threat to plans to cap transalpine road traffic and force heavy-weight trucks onto rail.
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