As expected, the Swiss government will press ahead with plans to build a second Gotthard Tunnel. Established anti campaigners have been quick off the mark but the general public seems, so far, to be in favour.
Also, a quick National Lorry Week look at the DAF XF, the UK’s favourite.
SWISS GOVT PUSHES SECOND GOTTHARD TUNNEL
Highly controversial move subject to referendum next year but two tunnels will not mean twice the traffic.
The Swiss government has launched the campaign to build a highly controversial second tube for the Gotthard Tunnel.
A likely hotly-contested referendum on the issue will be held on Sunday 28 February 2016.
Built in 1980, the 10.8 mile Gotthard Tunnel, the world’s third longest road tunnel on one of the main trans-Alp routes to Italy, is in need of a complete overhaul.
Transport minister Doris Leuthard told a press conference in Bern yesterday (Tuesday), ‘Building a second tunnel guarantees a lasting solution for the population and the economy.’
Almost three billion Swiss francs has been budgeted for the work. If passed, it will begin in 2020 and last up to ten years.
The second tunnel will initially be used to relieve the first during refurbishment.
Subsequently, each tube will carry traffic in one direction on one lane only with a permanent hard shoulder for emergencies.
That only one lane is open in each direction is enshrined in the Swiss Constitution following a previous referendum in 2004. The number of trucks is also limited.
The government also examined a temporary vehicle shuttle train to be used during renovation of the existing tunnel. It would cost around €1.5bn but would have to be dismantled and reassembled during every subsequent renovation whereas the second tube is a permanent solution says Leuthard.
She also said the government remained committed to moving freight from road to rail. Capacity steps up next year when the Gotthard Base Tunnel opens and, again, further south in 2020 with the Ceneri Base Tunnel between Bellinzona and Lugano.
The government originally decided to pursue the second tunnel option last September after which the necessary 100,000 signatures were collected to force a national referendum.
One of many opposition groups, Alpine Initiative, says a second tube would be ‘devastating’ for the Alps and would lead to a doubling of transalpine lorries to two million each year.
A poll for Swiss paper 20 Minutes currently has readers 75:25 in favour of the second tube.