The Gotthard car tunnel in Switzerland is closed indefinitely in both directions. Pieces of concrete fell onto the roadway at the entrance on the north side yesterday afternoon. This is due to a 25 meter long crack in the ceiling. No one was injured when the concrete fell.
The tunnel is one of the most important car routes through the Alps. Traffic is temporarily diverted via the Gotthard Pass and the San Bernardino Tunnel. The pass is a narrow, very winding road. If you take the San Bernardino, you have to make a long detour.
If the closure of the Gotthard tunnel lasts for a long time, the detour via the San Bernardino will become even more problematic. The tunnel will be closed several nights in October between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for remediation and maintenance.
The Gotthard railway tunnel has been closed to passenger trains since August 10. That’s because of a train derailment. Passenger trains are routed over the pass.
In 2001, the Gotthard car tunnel was closed for two months after a collision between two trucks, causing a fire. One of those trucks was loaded with tires that also caught fire.
The heat that was released caused the ceiling to collapse over a length of 100 meters. That disaster claimed the lives of eleven people. After the fire, safety in the tunnel was improved.