Why things are running a little slower at the Gotthard

Cars travel through the 17-kilometre-long tunnel in only one tube, in both northbound and southbound directions. Since a serious accident more than 20 years ago, a guidance system ensures that only a certain number of vehicles are in the tunnel at any one time.

Construction work for a second tube is already underway. When it is expected to open in 2029, the old tube will first be renovated before traffic from the north and south will flow in separate tubes from 2032.

Currently, the safety tunnels are being upgraded, including two locks with double-winged gates 3.2 metres high and 4 metres wide. These are being constructed by the German metal construction company Hodapp - together with the drives, controls, safety elements and operation by Gilgen.


"You have to imagine: The gate must still function automatically at a pressure of 150 kg per square metre - this corresponds to a wind speed of 170 km/h," says the head of CMS, Bruno Köchli, explaining the special requirements. The schedule is tight: the first gate will be installed in the safety tunnel in Airolo as early as July/August 2022. Delivery of the second gate is planned for November/December in Göschenen. "Together with our partner Hodapp, with whom we have been working successfully for more than 40 years, we will manage it," says Bruno Köchli confidently.


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