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Traffic builds up around Gotthard Tunnel

Tailbacks and long delays in and around the Gotthard tunnel have hit the headlines once again Keystone

Traffic on Europe's main north-south axis, via the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland, built up on Saturday with a 10-kilometre tailback between the towns of Erstfeld and Wassen. Local police have warned motorists using the tunnel to add two and a half hours to their journey time.

This content was published on April 7, 2001 - 12:36

On Friday, a 12-kilometre tailback at the northern entrance to the tunnel led to even longer delays.

The traffic flow has improved on the situation one week ago, when more than 850 trucks were blocked on the road heading towards the Chiasso frontier post on the border with Italy.

Last week, the Swiss government announced that delays were to be expected in and around the tunnel until 2005.

Max Friedli, director of the federal transport office, confirmed there was not likely to be any ease in the traffic flow on the main A2 road to the tunnel for at least the next four years.

Facilities at the frontier have been stretched to the limit by large numbers of trucks - up to 5,500 a day - since a new heavy goods vehicle tax was introduced in January.

Police in canton Ticino have issued a warning that more delays are to be expected as traffic builds up prior to the Easter holiday weekend.

swissinfo with agencies

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