NEWS: A strike could mean delays at all UK Passport Controls today (see more here – not causing any problems at Dover, Calais or Dunkerque so far).
Also, drivers are preparing for the first big European summer getaway with heavy traffic in Switzerland, Austria and – particularly – Germany. A new twitter account monitors delays on both sides of the Gibraltar-Spain frontier.
GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: quiet this morning, 60mins delay mid-afternoon then two hours in the late evening…
WEEKEND TRAFFIC: CHALLENGING
Brace yourself for the first big weekend getaway.
France has already broken up for the school holidays but it hasn’t started on the big dash south. That’s next month. This weekend will be busier than usual, particularly on the roads from Paris to the coasts, especially on Saturday. Major jams are not expected but as schools in the southern Netherlands break up tomorrow expect a lot of Dutch cars on the roads.
Sunday will be quiet but Monday (14 July) being a national holiday – Bastille Day – will see many long weekenders heading home in the afternoon.
Adding somewhat to the traffic will be the Tour de France which spends the weekend in east France, Epernay, Nancy and Mulhouse.
It’s best you have the German prediction straight. With schools-out in the north and east, this weekend – according to the ADAC – ‘The joy of the most wonderful time of the year is thoroughly spoiled for car travellers. The jams now cover the whole country. Moreover, countless car holidaymakers from Scandinavia will be frolicking on Germany‘s highways. Even if the highways are particularly strained in the north, it doesn’t look much better in the south.’
The upsides are that tomorrow is the last of the amber days – every other Friday until 15 August is red – and that Sunday will be quieter.
On Saturday Austria is expecting ‘very heavy traffic’ too with particular emphasis on the cross border B179 Fernpass, A10 Salzburg-St Michael im Lungau, A12 to Innsbruck, A13 Brenner Innsbruck-Italy, A1 and A2 in and out of Vienna, plus around the other big urban centres.
Domestic traffic should be light though, the last of the kids went on holiday last weekend.
Switzerland will also be busy with traffic heading south Friday and Saturday and north Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is a black day with the rush starting 18:00 Friday and, apart from overnight obviously, only tailing off the next evening.
The A2 Gotthard Tunnel will see delays of up to two hours, possibly more. The good news is that the road works on the easy, scenic Gotthard Pass (exit Wassen/Goschenen or Airolo) will be suspended every weekend until September. Other hotspots will be the A2 down to the Italian border at Chiasso and the road works A1/A2 Harkingen-Wiggertal south of Basel.
Since most holidaymakers will have booked ahead, the weather is unlikely to make the same difference as it would at other times. For the record, however, temperatures are expected to be in the mid to late twenties all over Europe though there will be some rain around too.