The Gotthard tunnel, at 16,9 km the longest road tunnel in Switzerland, has been closed since Sunday. The reason is a crack in the ceiling of the tunnel, which is popular with motorists driving to and from Italy. Chunks of concrete landed on the road, but no one was injured, said FEDRO, the Swiss agency for roads and traffic.
The closure is indefinite in both directions. The crack is located 700 meters from the north entrance and is 25 meters long. Nothing is yet known about the cause and exact damage.
Traffic will be diverted via the San Bernardino route and the Gotthard Pass route.
Construction of a second tunnel tube has begun. The new road tunnel should be ready for use in 2027. After that, the existing tunnel, which opened in 1980, will close for renovation, and by 2030, both tubes can be traveled.
Rail traffic through Gotthard also disrupted
One of the tubes in the Gotthard base tunnel has also been closed for a month after a freight train derailed on 10 August. Sixteen wagons went off the rails, severely damaging the tunnel infrastructure over 7 km. Around 20 000 concrete rails need to be replaced.
Swiss railway company SBB expects to be able to operate part of the tunnel for passenger traffic from the beginning of 2024.