Road closure adds to Gotthard transport woes
The Gotthard road tunnel has been closed in both directions since Sunday afternoon due to a crack in the tunnel ceiling.
Chunks of concrete fell onto the important Swiss road route, the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) announced. The duration of the closure is unknown.
An initial inspection revealed a 25-metre long crack in the ceiling, said FEDRO. Concrete fell onto the road near the northern tunnel portal. FEDRO closed the tunnel for an indefinite period shortly after 4 pm on Sunday following reports from canton Uri cantonal police.
The exact extent of the damage and the cause were not clear by Monday morning. FEDRO said it is working intensively to get clarifications. In response to a request from the Keystone-SDA news agency, the ministry said no further information could be provided on Monday morning. As soon as reliable information is available, it will to provide further details.
For the time being, traffic must use the San Bernardino route and the Gotthard pass road, FEDRO announced. Trucks that were already waiting to continue their journey at the heavy traffic control centres in Giornico (canton Ticino) and Ripshausen (canton Uri) were held back. There were backlogs in front of the two portals of the tunnel.
The railway’s Gotthard Base Tunnel is also currently closed to passenger traffic indefinitely. After a derailment on August 10th, only the east tunnel is accessible for freight traffic. Swiss federal Railways is running passenger traffic over the mountain route.
Eight damaged cars are currently being dismantled in the west tunnel, which should take until the end of September. It will take several months for all the damage to be repaired.