This weekend sees the first summer holiday jams, particularly in Germany.
Also, 300 Can-Am touring trikes meet at the top of Grossglockner. And, Brexit fare rise risk says Brittany Ferries. Scania’s ‘electric highway’ starts operations. Dummy passenger attempts carpool scam in Madrid. Mass casualties in Austria coach crash. Chronic Spain border queues A63 from Bordeaux.
SUMMER TRAFFIC STARTS THIS WEEKEND
Massive traffic jams are as summery as sunstroke and forest fire.
Happily there is still some way to go before the truly epic delays.
But Scandinavia and northern Germany heading off on holiday from this Friday kicks off twelve straight weekends of increasingly clogged roads.
This Nordic exodus will likely make the A7 Denmark-Hamburg not an especially nice place to be this weekend, and the A9 to Munich too thanks to the road works south of Ingolstadt.
However, really major jams are not anticipated in Germany until the third weekend of July.
From then on, every Friday and Saturday will be as busy as it gets on German roads, up to and including the 5th and 6th of August.
After that, holiday routes north and south settle back into the merely crowded until the end of September.
Meanwhile, France doesn’t get going until Friday 1 July.
After that it gets progressively busier until the first ‘Black Saturday’ – when the entire country sets off on holiday – on Saturday 30 July.
This is repeated the following weekend – Saturday 6 August – accompanied by exceptionally heavy traffic return traffic for the first time too.
Things then steadily return to normal ahead of a quiet September.
The Mont Blanc Tunnel has a slightly different pattern. From France to Italy it is busiest from the second week in July to the first weekend of August, likely with three hour delays, then from mid-July to mid-August in the other direction.
In Austria, aside from heavy local traffic for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in the south east on the first weekend of August, the traffic season lasts from mid-July to mid-August.
Over in Switzerland, roads are at least busy every single day – especially at the weekend – from the first day of July until mid-September. The longest queues will be at the Gotthard Tunnel.
Coastbound traffic has already been heavy in Italy recently, especially the A14 Bologna-Rimini – out early on Saturday, back late on Sunday – and A10 Genoa-France. From this weekend, the A22 Brennero Austria-Verona joins the club too.
Weekends away aside – up to and including the first week of September – there is only one Italian Black Saturday, on Saturday 6 August.
Disclaimer: with so much traffic advice around, canny drivers dodge the worst days. However, the ultimate result is to spread the misery around. This was especially evident in France last year where every Saturday in August was horrible. Sundays are much quieter. In general, the earlier drivers set off in Germany the better (consider driving through the night) but in France, major queues develop even before sunrise on the worst days.
roundup: Brittany Ferries say Brexit could see fares increase as free movement becomes more difficult reports Portsmouth.co.uk. Interestingly, the UK-western France-Spain operator started on the day the UK joined the then EEC, on 1 January 1973… Scania’s electric highway in Gavle central Sweden began operations today. A 2km strip of the E16 motorway has overhead electric wires in a two year experiment… a Madrid driver was caught in a carpool lane on the A-6 this week with a dressed up dummy in the passenger seat. Officers became suspicious when they saw the dummy was wearing a fleece jacket despite the hot weather. The driver was fined €200 says El Pais English… 46 Italian passengers were injured, four seriously, in a coach crash in Austria yesterday lunchtime says ANSA.it. The vehicle rear-ended a broken down truck on the A2 at Grimmenstein between Vienna and Graz… several times this week, drivers heading south at the Spain border on the A63 from Bordeaux have been held in long queues, especially in the late afternoon. Presumably caused by border checks during the Euro16 football championship, though no other border seems particularly affected.