Cars driving on the railway
Right up to this year’s opening of the Gotthard Pass, construction work progressed well in Schöllenen Gorge. The road here between Göschenen and Andermatt is being refurbished from 2014 to 2018. The first phase: overhaul of the “Urnerloch” Tunnel, just outside Andermatt. To accommodate this work, from 28 April to 23 May 2014 automobile traffic was shifted to the railway – but not loading automobiles onto trains, although this would have been a possibility in Andermatt. No, the road was simply rerouted through the railway tunnel. The tracks of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn were “paved” with concrete elements, and the overhead contact lines were removed for safety reasons.
This four-week closure of the roadway tunnel (and rerouting of traffic through the much smaller railway tunnel) heightened the logistical challenge for the Construction Department of Andermatt Swiss Alps AG. Construction Project Manager Urs Herger tells explains: “Normally sized trucks could pass through the Urnerloch. But oversize trucks of a certain length and wider than three metres were allowed to pass through the Schöllenen only on Monday mornings between 3 am and 5 am.” The 450-metre-long roadway tunnel is receiving better lighting in addition to various other safety improvements. Esther Widmer, speaker for the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO), says: “The improvements after the rehabilitation will be most obvious to bicyclists: They will have a separate traffic lane in the uphill direction.”
Urs Herger adds with a smile: “Lately, meetings in Andermatt have not always begun on time. Participants travelling from the valley below have often been forced into a long wait at the red light in front of the detour tunnel.”
Snow clearing on the Gotthard Pass road was also completed on schedule: “The winter closure of the Gotthard Pass will end tomorrow, Friday, 23 May 2014, at 11:00 am. Road service is normal. Melt water is to be expected,” as announced by the Uri Department of Public Works. Thus, the tunnel is open again and the snow has been cleared. Green light for an enjoyable tour over what is arguably Switzerland’s most famous pass!
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