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Traffic talks tackle jams on Europe's main north-south axis

Transport minister, Leuenberger (right), addresses the 11 cantons' concerns over the increased traffic Keystone

Authorities from cantons along the A2 motorway from Basel to the Chiasso border crossing with Italy have demanded 1,400 rest stops for trucks to ease traffic flows. They met the Swiss transport minister, Moritz Leuenberger, on Monday to discuss traffic jams on the route.

This content was published on May 29, 2001 - 08:03

Leuenberger called a meeting of the 11 cantons that border the A2 after kilometre-long tailbacks provoked outrage among residents and authorities alike.

Much of the congestion is the result of the heavy trucks that wait to pass through the Gotthard tunnel to reach the Italian border.

The authorities have decided to create 1,400 posts along the road so that the trucks can pull over and wait, rather than causing traffic to stall.

The idea to organise parking areas was scrapped. "Such a measure would attract more trucks to pass through Switzerland," explained Leuenberger after their meeting in Bern.

Allowing traffic to pass throughout the night was also ruled out.

Leuenberger suggested that "sorting booths" needed to be built to better survey the heavy trucks carrying merchandise. Further, he said processing formalities for empty trucks needed to be simplified.

Talks with Germany and Italy would be necessary to set up such "sorting booths", a process which could take at least two years.

In the long term, Leuenberger stressed the importance of transferring the trucks from the road to the railway as soon as construction on the Alpine rail system was complete.

The level of traffic and tailbacks has increased sharply since the beginning of this year when an agreement with the European Union on trucks transiting Switzerland came into effect.

The Chiasso border crossing point, from Ticino to Italy, has been unable to cope with the increased truck traffic, leading to chaos, particularly during peak holiday times.

swissinfo with agencies

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