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Traffic: What you can expect during the Ascension weekend in Switzerland

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Traffic: What you can expect during the Ascension weekend in Switzerland
Expect heavy traffic on Swiss roads this weekend. Photo by Kathy on Unsplash

As numerous motorists are setting off for the four-day holiday weekend, drivers are warned to expect a significant volume of traffic and bottlenecks on Swiss roads.

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The heavier-than-usual traffic is expected on the A2 and A13 motorways, but not only.

The  traffic ‘hot spots’ from today until Sunday will be the same as before and after every public holiday or holiday weekend, according to motoring association Touring Club Suisse (TCS).

For instance, in the Gotthard tunnel, the first traffic jams are expected at the north entrance today and continue on the Ascension day on Thursday.

On Friday, traffic should flow relatively smoothly, but bottlenecks are to  expected when people return home on Sunday May 12th.

Just to give you a ‘foretaste’ of what the traffic could be like in the Gotthard:  22,745 vehicles passed through the tunnel on Ascension Day in 2023. On the return trip, 24,805 drove through the tunnel.

This resulted in 10-km-long bottlenecks on Ascension Thursday, which means waits of around two hours, according to TCS.

What you should know (and do)  if you plan to drive through the Gotthard?

“Leave the day before, or very early in the morning, or in evening, and try alternative routes, when possible,” TCS spokesperson Laurent Pignot said.

But don’t expect to be the only motorist on the alternative routes, because they too are usually quite congested during holiday weekends, Pignot pointed out.

There are two south-bound roads, especially for motorists from the French-speaking regions:  the Mont-Blanc and the Grand-Saint-Bernard tunnels.

However, Mont-Blanc will be very busy because Ascension is a public holiday in France as well. 

“The peak of the wave of returns is expected on Sunday May 12th between 4 pm and 9 pm, although the entire day will be characterised by very heavy traffic until 11 pm,” according to Pignot.

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As for the Great Saint-Bernard, it will experience traffic peaks today and Thursday from 6 am, and until the end of the afternoon.

On return, expect congestion from about 10 am until late at night.

Travellers from the Swiss-German areas can detour via the San Bernardino, though disruptions can’t be ruled out on that road as well.

Other alternatives are the Lötschberg and Simplon railway tunnels.

You can see which motorways and main roads to avoid, here

And keep in mind that very same roads / tunnels will also be congested during the Pentecost weekend, from May 18th to 20th.

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