Europe’s roads will see some bumper traffic over Easter, none more so than Germany – but possibly also Switzerland.
Also, Land Rover puts a monkey in the driving seat of the new Evoque Convertible in the French Alps. New threat to historic Newhaven-Dieppe ferry route – but some rare good news for Condor Ferries. Major works on the A9 Nuremberg-Munich.
GERMANY’S BUSIEST DAY OF THE YEAR INCOMING
Looking to beat last year’s 8000km jams on next week’s Maunday Thursday.
The busiest day on German roads last year was Maunday Thursday, called Gründonnerstag locally, ahead of Good Friday and the long Easter Weekend.
That date fell on 2 April in 2015 but this year lands on 24 March, i.e. next Thursday.
Busy days on German roads really are something to behold.
Last year the jams – if laid end to end – would have stretched 8000km according to motoring club ADAC.
For those with no choice more detailed advice will be available next week, but otherwise avoid driving in Germany next Thursday if possible.
Friday will be busy too but Wednesday and Sunday are set to be much quieter.
After Easter roads settle back to the recent pattern of busy weekends before tailing off mid-April ahead of a busy May.
Over in France the roads will be much less busy than half term – there are no Black Saturdays for instance – but the big getaway day is Friday 25 March followed by the return on Monday 28 March.
Meanwhile, every Saturday in April will see raised traffic levels during the school holidays.
Switzerland is the country to be particularly beware of, starting this Saturday.
Last weekend saw the first queues at the Gotthard Tunnel since the summer despite no particular warnings.
Ominously, Thursday-Friday 24-25 March, Monday 28 and the following Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1-3 April will be as crowded as it gets on Swiss roads.
It quietens off then until the end of the month and a monstrously busy first half of May.
In Austria too Saturday to Monday, 26-28 April will see packed roads too though it’s an island of congestion in what will otherwise be a quiet few weeks until the hordes descend again in early May.
As ever, constructing an overall Easter traffic forecast for Italy is next to impossible thanks to the road operating companies all making their own and publishing at different times, if at all.
However, the bellweather A22 Brennero in the Dolomites only has a warning for Monday 28 March heading south.
It will be much busier however – ‘molto intense’ – on the coastal A12 between Pisa and Genoa on both Saturday 26 March and Monday 28, though quiet again until late April.
Spanish roads will inevitably be crowded too but for the entire period Friday 18 March to Monday 28 March there are only ‘unfavourable’ times to drive rather than the ‘very unfavourable’ seen in the summer. See more at DGT.es.
roundup: CROSSING THE CHANNEL. More uncertainty for the historic Newhaven-Dieppe ferry route, running now for more than 150 years. After years of wrangling over the operating contract, subsidised by French authorities, it was thought the route was secure after a new agreement was struck last December. But a reported legal challenge by Eurotunnel was upheld last week reports the Brighton Argus – now the contract has to be re-written and the route re-tendered. DFDS will continue to operate the Transmanche-branded ferries in the meantime. A local MP says the route is not under threat but DFDS says it will only tender for the service if the conditions are right. Meanwhile, relief all-round at Condor Ferries surely after a last-chance meeting with Jersey and Guernsey’s Chief Ministers apparently went well. A statement afterwards said they were both ‘encouraged by the breadth and depth of the remediation plan’ and the operator’s ‘commitment’ to improve according to ITV News, but ‘disappointed’ by some of the abuse staff had received in person and on-line. The Channel Islands operator will reveal details of the remediation plan later this month. GERMANY. A 17km section of the A9 southbound between Nuremberg and Munich undergoes major work for most of the rest of this year reports ADAC. One of the busiest roads in Germany – the major north-south road down the east part of the country – the A9 sees an average 100,000 vehicles each day, and much more on high days and holidays as drivers head to and from the Alps and Adriatic. The work includes remaking the hard shoulder which means a contraflow lane on the northbound carriageway between Holledau and Allershausen. The whole lot is limited to 80kmh. The work also includes renovating 27 bridges. It starts on Monday 4 April and lasts until the end of October.