Half Time on Gotthard’s Schollenen Gorge Revamp

Switzerland is taking its time – a very long time – to renovate the north stretch of Gotthard Pass.

Also, it seems everyone’s going to Norway. First test for new Italy ‘vehicular homicide’ law, and a similar case in Ireland. No more deaths with Dutch 130kmh limit says police. Jail sentence for Calais riot migrant amid more riots. Harsher fine for oncoming lane driving Bulgaria. Near miss wrong-way incident Sweden.

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HALF TIME ON GOTTHARD’S SCHOLLENEN GORGE REVAMP

It will take six years to redevelop five kilometers of road.

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Schollenen Gorge. Photo Schollenen.ch

Strictly speaking, the H2 Schollenenstrasse which snakes up the Schollenen Gorge is not part of the H2 Gotthard Pass.

For most people the difference is academic though the roads are separated by several miles of the Urseren Valley.

Some people call Schollenen the Andermatt Pass because it runs up from Goschenen, at the north end of the Gotthard Road Tunnel, to the ski resort Andermatt.

In 5.15km it rises 357m (1170ft) with three bridges and tunnels and six open-sided galleries (to protect against rock fall).

As a scenic alternative to the jam-prone Gotthard Tunnel, Schollenen gets very busy.

In the summer the number of vehicles more than triples, to nearly 14,000 each day (compared to 100,000 per day for a busy three lane motorway like the Munich A9).

Until the Gotthard Tunnel opened in 1980 it was a major route through the Alps between north and south Switzerland.

After more than five decades in its current form it was time for an overhaul.

Work started in October 2013 and has just passed the half way point (bang on schedule naturally).

The main structural work will be finished by the end of 2018 and the entire project a year later.

More than six years to revamp a road little more than five kilometres long…

Due to the traffic load, work is restricted to two sites at any time and, thanks to the weather, between April and October.

Under normal circumstances, there is alternate traffic at the work sites with traffic lights though at weekends in July and August the traffic is allowed to flow freely.

The major work this year is on two of the galleries, the road way and some retaining walls.

Aside from that, a new bike path is being built including a fancy underpass tunnel.

By the end of 2018, bikes and cars will not mix. In the meantime there’s a bike transport for €5.

In truth, the Schollenen revamp is a massive pain, adding to the congestion at one of Europe’s most acute pinch points.

Will it be worth it? Well they’ve had long enough to get it right.

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After what was described as an ‘eventful’ ferry crossing, the first SLR Club members arrived in Oslo on Sunday ahead of the ‘Midnight Sun Tour’. Quite what has happened since then is not clear; ‘stay tuned’ it says on its Facebook page. Meanwhile, @Fletchdale nears the end of his two week Norway tour, see the pictures. UK drivers are still hampered by the lack of a ferry link to Scandinavia and, unfortunately, there is still no news to report. Photo SLR Club.

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roundup: Italy’s new ‘vehicular homicide’ law is about to be put to the test. It follows the death of a cyclist in Piacenza on Wednesday, allegedly by a driver overtaking in a no-passing lane reports ANSA.it. As of March, drivers can be jailed for up to seven years if convicted of one death or up to 12 years if drink driving, and up to 18 years for multiple deaths. Licences can be confiscated for up to 30 years. Over in Ireland meanwhile, a disqualified driver who killed a cyclist in Dublin last year has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison reports RTE.ie. The young driver had attempted a handbrake turn at traffic lightsDutch police refute claims the steady re-roll out of the 130kmh motorway speed limit has led to more road deaths. A report earlier in the year said fatalities had tripled according to DutchNews.nl but police say there are logically more deaths on 130kmh stretches because there are now more of them. The 130kmh limit now covers 61 percent of the motorway network with an eventual target of 77 percent… a Kuwaiti migrant was sentenced to three months in prison following Monday’s riot on the Calais port road reports La Voix du Nord. Two British activists were also arrested but it’s not clear if they have been punished (they were ordered to leave France according to the Telegraph). Meanwhile, for the third time this week – and after months of quiet in the day time – migrants disrupted traffic in Calais again today. Ominously, not just the A216/N216 access road to the port was closed, but also the A16 at Grand Synthe, Dunkirk, next to the migrant camp… in the face of rising road deaths, and one of the EU’s worst road safety records, Bulgaria has tightened penalties. A blood alcohol level between 0.5-0.8 gets a fine of 500BGN (£195), rising to 1000BGN (£390) for 0.8-1.2 (the UK limit is 0.8). Driving in the oncoming lane on motorways and fast roads – an increasing practice according to Novinite – will cost 4000BGN (£1500)… a family survived a head-on crash with a wrong way driver on the E4 between Stockholm and Malmo in central Sweden early this morning. As is common, the incident was caused by an elderly local, an 80 year old man says The Local Sweden

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