One of Europe’s main transport routes is closed, creating miles long traffic jams. Due to a deadly head-on crash inside the tunnel, the Gotthard that connects Switzerland to Italy is closed to all traffic at the moment, leaving many frustrated drivers stranded.
The Gotthard road tunnel under the Alps in Switzerland closed when a truck and a passenger car collided, killing two people and wounding four others. At the same time, the crash damaged the key transit route, police said on Wednesday.
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The tunnel, which runs beneath the Alps, will remain closed for several hours while the wreckage is cleared. According to preliminary police reports, the German registered car had crossed the middle line, making it impossible for the lorry to avoid him.
The accident occurred at 9:15am five kilometers from the northern entry at Göschenen in canton Uri.
Any accident in the Gotthard road tunnel always leads to major traffic jams in central Western Europe. The 10 mile (17km) tunnel is a quite amazing claustrophobic drive, a main north-to-south route for Europe which is used by well over a million freight trucks per year.
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Back in October 2001, 11 people were killed when two trucks collided head-on in the tunnel, triggering a huge fire. A drunk truck driver swerved into upcoming traffic and cause a major accident. The diesel fuel exploded and created a huge fire. All of the victims died from smoke inhalation. It reopened with much stricter safety measures in place.
Then last year, the Gotthard rail tunnel was also opened to try to relieve some of the traffic using other routes.