Doubling of the St. Gotthard road tunnel
Since 1994, the Article on the Protection of the Alps in the Swiss Constitution has banned the upgrading of transit roads and thus also the construction of a second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel. In recent years, the road lobby has repeatedly tried to reverse this ban. When parliament tried to achieve this by means of a counter-proposal to the Swiss Touring Club’s Avanti Initiative, this ended in a total fiasco. On 8 February 2004, the Swiss population rejected the proposed change to the constitution with a resounding majority of 63% no votes.
In May 2011, the canton of Uri once again had to vote on two motions that called for a second bore. These motions arose from the forthcoming renovation of the road tunnel. However, the voters of canton Uri steadfastly refused another tunnel for trucks and cars and rejected the proposals with 57 and 69 percent no votes.
In June 2012, the Swiss government nevertheless decided to build a second bore, with only one lane of each bore being open to traffic. This decision is irrational. It is technically and legally impossible to prevent the third and fourth lanes being opened to traffic at some point in the future under pressure from the EU.
On 28 Februar 2016, Swiss voters clearly approved the renovation of the Gotthard road tunnel, or rather the construction of a second bore for cars and trucks, with 57% of the vote.
All the studies undertaken by the relevant authorities to date show that it would be feasible and also cheaper to renovate the tunnel without constructing a second bore. Even the Swiss Council for Accident prevention (bfu) thinks that a second bore would not necessarily improve safety.
A second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel would endanger both the success of Swiss transport policy and the profitability of the country’s rail infrastructure (new rail links through the Alps, Rail 2000). It would lead to additional traffic jams on the access ramps and in the already over-saturated conurbations. The access valleys to the north and south of the tunnel would inevitably be sacrificed to road traffic.