A poisoned chalice A second bore is unnecessary
The Swiss authorities have launched a consultation on the Swiss government’s proposal for the renovation of the Gotthard road tunnel. In its statement, the Alpine Initiative resolutely rejects the second bore for the Gotthard tunnel proposed by the government. This would entail more trucks, more noise and more air pollution. In addition, it would greatly hamper the transfer of freight from road to rail. A second bore – in whatever form – would contradict the constitution and harm the Alpine region.
The Alpine Initiative cannot agree with the amendment to the Federal Law on Road Transit Traffic in the Alpine region (STVG), proposed by the government. Instead, it suggests spreading the renovation work over several winters and establishing a rail transport service for all cars and trucks. One part of this service could transport transit trucks from border to border, while a short-distance service could be used to transport trucks that just need to cross the Alps by means of the new rail base tunnel. The necessary rail capacity exists.
In the long term, this solution would be 3 billion francs cheaper than a second bore, which would increase the likelihood of other transport projects being implemented as well, particularly in small and large urban areas in all parts of the country. This solution would also make it possible to promote the transfer of freight from road to rail, as required by the constitution and the Traffic Transfer Act. The canton of Ticino would remain accessible at all times. No traffic would be diverted, because the transport service for cars and trucks would provide sufficient capacity and detours would be longer. “The strategy must be as follows: renovation without a second bore, with a simultaneous, effective transfer of freight from road to rail. If you build new roads in the Alps, you will never succeed in transferring goods from trucks to trains”, says Fabio Pedrina, President of the Alpine Initiative, Airolo TI.
A second bore would also undermine the will of the Swiss people and the constitution. The latter forbids any increase in the capacity of transalpine roads. Whether a second bore is in line with the constitution should therefore be determined only by the structural and technical capacity of two road bores, and not by the promise of the Swiss government to use just one lane of each bore. Just as a reminder, when the Gotthard road tunnel was opened in 1980, Swiss minister Hans Hürlimann promised: “The Gotthard is not a corridor for freight traffic”. Yet it is now used by one million trucks each year.
→ Alf Arnold, Director of the Alpine Initiative, 0041 (0)79 711 57 13
→ Fabio Pedrina, President of the Alpine Initiative, 0041 (0)79 249 29 42