Gotthard tunnel closed due to accident
The transalpine tunnel in central Switzerland is closed to traffic at both ends due to an accident on Monday afternoon.
According to first reports, five people have been injured, and the tunnel was closed in both directions. Rescue and evacuation operations are ongoing, a spokesperson for the Uri Cantonal Police told news agency SDA-Keystone. The cause of the accident was a car that veered the wrong way and collided into a motor home travelling in the right direction. Both vehicles had Dutch number plates and the collision happened a little after 13:45 on Monday.
According to the Swiss Touring Club (TCS) website, the Gotthard tunnel will remain closed until 6pm. Motorists are advised to use the Simplon or Grand St-Bernard roads to cross the Alps.
The 17-kilometre (11-mile) Gotthard tunnel, which runs from Göschenen to Airolo under the famous Gotthard pass, is one of the main thoroughfares through central Switzerland. It links the German-speaking north with the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino in the south. A separate, 57-kilometre train line – unveiled in 2016 as the longest in the world – also cuts through the mountain.
In February 2016, Swiss voters gave the go-ahead to build a second road tunnel, to allow for renovations of the existing infrastructure and ensure better connections between north and south.
Opponents had argued that the project was a threat to plans to cap transalpine road traffic and force heavy-weight trucks onto rail.