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Old 11.05.2015, 15:36
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Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

Hi all,

I need to pick some friends up from Lugano on Pfingsten Saturday and then bring them back into central Switzerland. I'll be leaving Lugano just after lunch.

All the discussions about nightmare Gotthard traffic tend to be from people going south, but is it the case that Gotthard traffic is jammed in both directions on holiday weekends or only in one direction?

Thanks
Kash.
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Old 11.05.2015, 15:38
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

Simply, yes.

Saturday late afternoon may not be as bad as Friday or Monday, but depending exactly where you are I'd go San Bernadino rather than sit in traffic for hours.
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Old 11.05.2015, 17:13
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

Saturday should be fine in both directions.

Tom
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Old 11.05.2015, 17:58
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

TCS says that there will be bad traffic heading South on the 23rd. North should be good.

TCS School Holidays and Traffic Jams 2015

What about this Thursday? TCS predicts "Very High" traffic on both Wednesday and Thursday heading south. Does this hold true at 5 a.m.?
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Old 11.05.2015, 18:10
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

There are some tricks you can do if you use google maps navigation:
1. Going south you can drive off the highway and come back onto it just at the tunnel entrance. Savings if busy ~1h+.
2. Going north you can also drive off the highway to Airolo and enter the highway just before the tunnel entrance. I've only tried this once, radio was saying that the autobahn entrance Airolo was closed, google suggested that route so I took it. Turns out google was right, despite the radio announcement. There were some guys on the ramp letting traffic through in batches, but I waited 5 minutes before actually being let through. Savings if busy ~1h+.
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Old 11.05.2015, 19:41
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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There are some tricks you can do if you use google maps navigation:
1. Going south you can drive off the highway and come back onto it just at the tunnel entrance. Savings if busy ~1h+.
2. Going north you can also drive off the highway to Airolo and enter the highway just before the tunnel entrance. I've only tried this once, radio was saying that the autobahn entrance Airolo was closed, google suggested that route so I took it. Turns out google was right, despite the radio announcement. There were some guys on the ramp letting traffic through in batches, but I waited 5 minutes before actually being let through. Savings if busy ~1h+.
Where I come from, that is referred to as a "Dick Move". When the pass is open, I'll get off the highway many kilometers before the tunnel (both directions) to keep moving. It doesn't add much time to the journey but can save waiting for hours.
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Old 11.05.2015, 21:22
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

i just filter thru the traffic on the motorbike and go to the front saving hours.
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Old 11.05.2015, 22:07
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

Saturday is changeover day so there will be southbound traffic through the morning and northbound traffic in the afternoon building up.

Is the train broken? That would be my choice.

You may be lucky insofar that people are taking this week and next week off. Certainly the weekenders won't impact you but the holidaymakers might.
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Old 11.05.2015, 22:44
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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There are some tricks you can do if you use google maps navigation:
1. Going south you can drive off the highway and come back onto it just at the tunnel entrance. Savings if busy ~1h+.
2. Going north you can also drive off the highway to Airolo and enter the highway just before the tunnel entrance. I've only tried this once, radio was saying that the autobahn entrance Airolo was closed, google suggested that route so I took it. Turns out google was right, despite the radio announcement. There were some guys on the ramp letting traffic through in batches, but I waited 5 minutes before actually being let through. Savings if busy ~1h+.
Correct. When there is a big delay, the entrances to the Autoroute are closed by the police. Maybe some locally registered vehicles
would be let through the road block, but most are sent back to where they left the Autobahn.

My advice is to ask your friends to take the train, there is some very impressive scenery.
The train turns inside the mountain to gain / lose height in a short distance, using the 3 circular tunnels: take a look look at the map.
.
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Old 12.05.2015, 10:17
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

I am a newbie on this road (living in Switzerland since 2014), but I love visiting Italy, so been there already couple of times (drving from Zürich).
Weekend days are of course busy, especially at the edges (means Saturday morning – in direction of Italy, and Sunday evening acutally afternoon in direction back to German-Switzerland).
And If long-weekend occurs, of course the first and the last days of the period are the busiest, respectively.
Important: what I have noticed, also the school holidays/feiertags in border countries have quite big impact on traffic here, mainly Germany. If spring school holidays starts/ends in Germany, you can expect much bigger trafiic jam in Gothard.

My experience:

Going south (to Italy)
Usually I am starting the journey in the morning of the first non-working day, at 4-5 am from Zurich, to be very early in Gothard (about 6 am). Keeping that in mind, I have stucked once in small traffic jam (6 in the morning!) for about 20-30 minutes, it was in August last year, Saturday. But usually this time of day it is ok and it goes smooth (maybe just stopping the car once or twice). Have never tried it at 8 or 9am.

Going north (back to German-Switzerland)

I think that this direction is much worse, as Sunday is the most popular day for coming back, regardless of long or normal weekend. I believe that when not everybody goes south on Saturday morning, everybody comes back on Sunday
Couple of cases:
Once I have stuck in traffic jam for about 1.5 hour. It was Sunday, normal weekend. I do not remember the length of jam, but usually it is provided by the electronic road-signs.
Once I have decided to use the old Gothard route. Means that I had left the highway a bit earlier, than did not come back in Airolo before the tunnel, but just drove up the hill. It is the route, which have been used before Gothard tunnel was built you can see it on the google map but I doubt that it is ever being recommended/proposed by google maps. You can do so, but rather once, as a kind of adventure. The road is very winding. Also I really recommend to do it in good weather conditions, not when it is dark and foggy. For experienced drivers (it was not me who was driving that time). Not sure if it is always available.
Once I have used San Bernardino tunnel, as 6km jam by Gothard was announced in Radio. I believe it would mean min. 2 hours of waiting. San Bernardino it is an option as well. That time I was waiting about 30 minutes there, and it is generally known from much smaller traffic jam at weekend. However, the road to Zurich is longer than via Chur, also at most one line in each direction, so not a highway. How it sums up at the end (staying in Gothard vs. driving longer via S. Bernardino and Chur) – I can not advise. Advantage: the views are really extremely beautiful. Also I ve heard, that this route is often chosen by “experienced” drivers, means those who had already spend thousands of hours waiting by Gothard. Also lot of drivers from Austria and Bavaria/Germany (to consider my point about holidays in border-countries)


I had not ever tried the case to leave the highway earlier and come back in Airolo, what has been mentioned here. Maybe will do so in upcoming weekend
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Old 12.05.2015, 13:47
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

I have to agree with the above.

San Bernandino is a nice piece of road, but can be super annoying.

End of August 2013 I was driving north from Milan from a very exhausting weekend. I was alone, it was late and the signs in Bellinzona were warning about long queues for the tunnel. I took San Bernandino, and the autobahn north had works or sth and the width was limited and there was an 80 speed limit. It was late, I was tired, I was alone, and I just wanted to go home. I put 100 on the CC, and got hit by a camera while I was distracted (ticket came after 2 working days, very efficient people in GR Kantonspolizei 100CHF wasted...). Rest of the route I stuck to the limit, and of course there were no other cameras.

The good thing is that most of the road is completely empty, and on the pass there were not many people. It is quite a bit longer though and in some cases it might make sense to just park for a while in the stupid traffic jam.

Hugely annoying and sad that interest groups are not allowing the maintenance tunnel to open for normal use and get two lanes per direction. There would be minimal traffic jams, other than the ripple caused by the speed reduction (which can be managed with gradual speed reductions before the tunnel).

They think that if the tunnel is a pain people will not travel, which is stupid and backwards thinking but to each their own. What I don't understand is that they see that travellers are not deterred and they just stick to their guns making everything much worse, since traffic jams are much worse for environmental impact than flowing traffic.
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Old 14.05.2015, 11:32
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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Where I come from, that is referred to as a "Dick Move". When the pass is open, I'll get off the highway many kilometers before the tunnel (both directions) to keep moving. It doesn't add much time to the journey but can save waiting for hours.
So it's a dick move to use alternate public roads without traffic, thereby perhaps helping decongest the highway, instead of waiting for hours stuck on the highway and contribute the congestion thereof. Interesting. I suppose you also always travel at rush hour in and out of cities and always taking the main, most congested roads?

Perhaps radio SRF should also add, when they recommend using San Bernardino, "but be aware, taking this route will be considered a dick move"
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Old 14.05.2015, 12:06
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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So it's a dick move to use alternate public roads without traffic, thereby perhaps helping decongest the highway, instead of waiting for hours stuck on the highway and contribute the congestion thereof. Interesting. I suppose you also always travel at rush hour in and out of cities and always taking the main, most congested roads?

Perhaps radio SRF should also add, when they recommend using San Bernardino, "but be aware, taking this route will be considered a dick move"

Leaving the freeway early with the intention of taking alternate routes like going over the pass or a slower (but moving) road is not a problem. Leaving the freeway before the tunnel with the intention of getting back on right before the tunnel thereby bypassing kilometers of other people also wanting to go through the tunnel, is a dick move.
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Old 14.05.2015, 12:09
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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Leaving the freeway early with the intention of taking alternate routes like going over the pass or a slower (but moving) road is not a problem. Leaving the freeway before the tunnel with the intention of getting back on right before the tunnel thereby bypassing kilometers of other people also wanting to go through the tunnel, is a dick move.
I suppose that you're one of those people that when they see that lanes are reducing to one 2km ahead immediately switches and gets pissed that not everyone does.

Now THAT (immediately changing lanes) is truly a "Dick Move"!
Tom
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Old 24.05.2015, 18:53
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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Hi all,

I need to pick some friends up from Lugano on Pfingsten Saturday and then bring them back into central Switzerland. I'll be leaving Lugano just after lunch.

All the discussions about nightmare Gotthard traffic tend to be from people going south, but is it the case that Gotthard traffic is jammed in both directions on holiday weekends or only in one direction?

Thanks
Kash.
On Whit Saturday (Pfingsten 23. May), there was a 13 Km traffic jam on the Gotthard autobahn heading south, a delay of up to two hours!

http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/13-...id3788538.html

Prognosis: there will be an equal and opposite delay on Monday, coming north.

Solution: take the Grand St Bernard tunnel,
https://www.google.ch/maps/dir/Maila...1!2d46.1025948
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Old 24.05.2015, 18:58
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

Just a heads up. Last weekend, St. Bernandino was way more frustrating than St. Gotthard has ever been.

On the way south on Wed evening we got stuck for about 1h on the north entrance.

On the way back on Sunday noon, there was a traffic jam in the Como toll station, on the Chiasso border crossing and huge signs for the tunnel. We went to St. Bernandino and the way down was horrendous. Traffic was moving at a steady 15kph for about 1.5h with short breaks (less than a minute) of "normal" speeds.

My guess is lorries that had to take it easy on the way down from the mountain aggravated an already difficult situation.

At least at the tunnel you shut off the engine, throw the seat back and wait.
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Old 25.05.2015, 19:10
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

Right now the Gotthard pass is closed in both directions. Going north on Gotthard autobahn is a minimum 1 hour 20 minute delay.

http://www.tcs.ch/de/auto-mobilitaet...uelle-lage.php

It really isn't worth driving south at holiday weekends.
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Old 25.05.2015, 19:17
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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It really isn't worth driving south at holiday weekends.
Indeed, which is why we drive NORTH on holiday weekends!

Tom
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Old 04.07.2015, 15:09
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

This morning, 6km by 6am, and peak of 9km.
Miserable start to the summer holidays for some people.

http://gotthardjam.appspot.com/

I was considering a trip to Gandria for the weekend, but when I realised the schools had broken up, I aborted that notion.
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Old 04.07.2015, 18:43
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Re: Is Gotthard busy in both directions on holidays?

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This morning, 6km by 6am, and peak of 9km.
Miserable start to the summer holidays for some people.

http://gotthardjam.appspot.com/

I was considering a trip to Gandria for the weekend, but when I realised the schools had broken up, I aborted that notion.
Later on a truck broke down, adding 2 hours to the waiting time for the south facing queue.
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