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Old 27.02.2008, 11:04
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Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

Hi,

Anyone know what traffic is generally like on a Friday afternoon in the Gotthard, or alternatively the San Bernandino tunnels?

Read about the horrendous queues in the Summertime, wondering if its generally bad on weekends at other times of year. (Specifically, NOW - end of February)

Thanks, Dan
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Old 27.02.2008, 11:20
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Re: Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

You can watch the general conditions under the link below.

http://www.tcs.ch/main/de/home/verkehrsinfo.html

Current traffic here:

http://www.tcs.ch/main/de/home/verke...enzustand.html

and the prognosis here:

http://www.tcs.ch/main/de/home/verke...orhersage.html

Generally, I would say, from Friday afternoon through Sunday night will have more traffic at the tunnels. Which tunnel is better, I couldn't say cause I like the St. Bernard.
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Old 27.02.2008, 11:40
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Re: Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

In winter the San Bernadino is a delight but you'll bump into a lot of 'Ski' traffic heading to the Chur region. After there it's beautiful if the weather's right - as in Summer.

Use the Gottardo for non-ski destinations in winter: I did it last weekend and from the border to Zurich it took only 2.5 hours. And I don't speed

Peak holiday times may well be different though. For Easter, leave at 4am and beat the Dutch...
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Old 27.02.2008, 11:54
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Re: Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

Generally the traffic is not so bad in normal weekends. The big problems come around the long weekends, Easter, Christmas and the summer holidays.

In normal weekends (both in winter and summer) I've crossed the Gotthard tunnel in the afternoon (latest around 5 pm) without problems, with maximum wating time of 10 minutes.

Easter (next month) is a pain in the ass on the Gotthard because you'll have also germans and the rest of north europeans driving to the sunny South.

On Thursday 27.03 afternoon the waiting time could be up to 3 hours

San Bernardino has less traffic normally, but the travel is much longer. It is worth only when the waiting time on the Gotthard is longer than 1 hour.

The passes are closed right now, so there are no alternatives to the tunnels now. In summer there is no need to wait for the tunnel, the Gotthard pass can be crossed in 30 minutes with a decent car and some good luck (that is not finding austrian station wagons with kajaks and bikes on the roofs).

Bear in mind that both tunnels are quite high above sea level, that means low temperatures and one should use winter tyres until April to go thru the Alps.

Always check the traffic forecast on tcs.ch listen to the radio and look at the big signs on the motorway, especially when travelling back from the South, around Bellinzona there is a big sign telling you how long is the queue right before the diramation where you can choose Gottardo or Bernardino.

By the way, leave the car at home and take the train. The drive to Italy is long and tiring.
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Old 27.02.2008, 14:19
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Re: Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

The Gotthard tunnel will be *ok* on a Friday evening if you do not time your run against the day the kids get out of school or a holiday weekend. This situation will change around mid-April when you may find Friday evening and Saturday morning to be a nightmare on that route.

The Bernardino tunnel is a more challenging drive (and more enjoyable with the right car) and on the south side, you are treated to some nice views.

A3 northbound traffic on ski weekends will be moderate to heavy if you're returning Sunday as it gets dark.

From mid-April until October or so, weekend traffic at the Gotthard is utterly hideous - unless you're coming north and going south on Friday/Sunday (but only madmen do this!!).

Coming north on the Sunday, you have the first sign coming down from Monte Cenere before you hit Bellinzona sud and the rest stop - if it says 1km, factor in 40 minutes delay.....!

Typically, for each km you have queue at the tunnel, it's 20 minutes delay. From the Gotthard rest stop on the south side, it is about 40 minutes until you enter the tunnel (when you're stuck) - and, when it is blocked that far back, you cannot get to the pass (if it is open). On the north side, you can filter for the pass from about 2km before the tunnel entrance.

www.gotthard-strassentunnel.ch on top of the TCS/Swisstxt sites for info - and pretty pictures of the delays
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Old 27.02.2008, 14:43
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Re: Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

This is when SatNav proves it's worth: delays are foreseeable!

I'd stick to the Bernadino anyway. Those curves on the exit south make it so much fun. Beware the solitary speed camera about 3kms after you reach the valley floor. Sneaky 60km limit for no apparent reason, and everyone ignores it. Except me; I've no quarrel with the law

In Summer I'd take the Bernina Pass, just for the wind-in-your-hair kicks and dinner in Poschiavo
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Old 27.02.2008, 14:45
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Re: Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

Quote:
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This is when SatNav proves it's worth: delays are foreseeable!

I'd stick to the Bernadino anyway. Those curves on the exit south make it so much fun. Beware the solitary speed camera about 3kms after you reach the valley floor. Sneaky 60km limit for no apparent reason, and everyone ignores it. Except me; I've no quarrel with the law

In Summer I'd take the Bernina Pass, just for the wind-in-your-hair kicks and dinner in Poschiavo
<cough>80km, unless it has changed since October</cough>

On the bright side, all through the 80 zone, be careful - I've been zapped by a camera there after the services - hidden by an armco in what looked like a duffel bag. There is one the opposite way too....

Interestingly, those fines are issued from GR (from Chur)...
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Old 02.03.2008, 13:39
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Re: Driving from Zurich to Italy (Gotthard vs. San Bernadino on a Friday After Work)

I have found this way to be the most convenient for driving from Zurich to Lugano:

- Drive on the A1 towards Bern (trust me)
- At the Limmattal Kreuz follow for Urdorf
- You'll be left near Affoltern Am Albis. Follow the blue signs towards Zug/Luzern
- When you arrive in Steinhausen you'll find green signs
- Get on the highway and drive towards Schwyz/Brunnen/Gotthard, NOT Luzern
- At the end of the first stretch of highway do the Axenstrasse and get back on the A2 in Flüelen
- Continue south towards the Gotthard

With this little trick you save some good km, you avoid the Sihlstrasse and the traffic around Luzern. Additionally you save yourself the trouble of speed cameras on the S.Bernardino and the annoying 80km limit around Luzern, but be careful on the normal road between Affoltern a.A. and Steinhausen, there's a couple there.

If you want to do the same on the way back, remember to exit the A2 in Flüelen, follow the Axenstrasse, highway from Brunnen and then exit in Cham. If you miss the exit and go through to Zug, you'll end in the Sihlstrasse, so you're not lost forever.
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