At time of construction, in 1980, it was the longest road tunnel in the world; it is currently the fifth-longest. Following the catastrophic fire in the road tunnel in 2001, car shuttle trains resumed operations for a few weeks. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is located in Switzerland. In Europe, the next alpine mega-tunnelling project is in progress, with a 55km tunnel underneath the Brenner designed to connect Innsbruck in Austria and Bolzano in Italy. However, June 1 st will witness a new era of the cross-Europe traveling with the inauguration of the world’s longest railway tunnel in Switzerland. The project took 17 years to build and cost 12.2bn Swiss francs. In contrast, another tunnel through the Alps, the San Bernardino road tunnel as part of the A13 in the canton of Graubünden further east, is relatively uncongested and shorter. It measures 57 km in length (35-mile) and is situated 2.3 km deep under the Swiss Alps. [14], This article is about the 1980 road tunnel. [12], The Swiss government has decided to upgrade the second tunnel into a full road tunnel in order to allow for the necessary reconstruction of the first road tunnel. In this category it is no longer the record-holder. SWARCO equipped the Gotthard road tunnel (motorway A2) with new hardware and software – efficiency increased with EffiGo integration into the operational management level … A tunnel through the Alps in Switzerland that has taken 17 years to build officially opens today. The 35-mile Gotthard Basel Tunnel is a high-speed rai... After nearly 20 years of construction, the world's longest rail tunnel opened in Switzerland Wednesday. The tunnel was opened on 5 September 1980. It will provide a high-speed rail connection under the Alps between northern and southern Europe. The tunnel would be longer than any existing road tunnel, and would provide a year-round road link from the Swiss Plateau to southern Switzerland, and from northern to southern Europe as well, to be used in place of the Gotthard Pass. Further usage of both tunnels was subject to a popular referendum that was held in February 2016, where it was approved. Gotthard Base Tunnel Currently the longest and most expensive rail tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel opened for service on 11 Dec. 2016. List of Road Tunnels in Switzerland, edited by Eugenio A. Merzagora. Switzerland has inaugurated Gotthard Base Tunnel, staging a massive celebration to honor the longest and deepest railway tunnel in the world. It has four large ventilation shafts and an additional side gallery between 10 and 18 metres (33 and 59 ft) from the main tunnel, having its own independent ventilation system in order to facilitate the cutting of a second tunnel, should future traffic levels require it. Measuring 57 km in length, situated 2.3km deep under the Alps and having cost €11bn to complete, Switzerland’s Gotthard base tunnel is more than just the world’s longest and most expensive tunnelling project. All three tunnels bypass the Gotthard Pass, an important trade route since the 13th century. The Alpine Initiative "for the protection of the Alpine region from transit traffic", which raised barriers against road tunnel construction, was initially blocked by the Swiss Parliament. This second tunnel can be built out to a full road tunnel, allowing four lanes of traffic. The twin-bore Gotthard base tunnel now holds the title of being the world's longest and deepest one. In response to the automobile boom in Switzerland and other things, the Swiss government gave approval in July 1969 for the construction of the 17-kilometre (11 mi) Gotthard Road tunnel. All rights reserved. For instance, carbon monoxide is highly toxic at very low concentrations; having this trapped in a confined space allows concentrations to build well beyond a fatal level. It remains a single bore tunnel with just one lane operating in each direction. [13] The reconstruction would have lasted for several years in any variant – one variant would push the traffic over the mountain pass, another proposed to load the vehicles onto trains with a new terminal, a third would close the tunnel for several months every year over time range of a decade. A proposed 80km underground train link connecting Helsinki in Finland and Tallin in Estonia is awaiting approval. As a symbol of cross-border cooperation, the Gotthard tunnel may only be able to ward off the spirits of populist nationalism for so long: according to recent reports in the Swiss media, politicians are expected to use the grand occasion, coming just weeks before the British referendum on EU membership, to rally support for measures to curb immigration. “We can show that Switzerland is a reliable partner for Brussels and the whole of Europe, more reliable even than some of its member states,” the president of the Christian Democratic party told Neue Zürcher Zeitung. A February 1994 Alpine Initiative passed (with 52% of the vote), and Parliament upheld the referendum twice through the 1990s. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is, with a length of 57.09 km and a total of 151.84 km of tunnels, shafts and passages, the longest railway tunnel in the world Regular rail service through the world’s longest tunnel – Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) – began carrying passengers deep under the Swiss Alps from Zurich to Lugano. Image Source: Reuters The extensive 35.5 miles long tunnel, named the Gotthard Base Tunnel snakes underneath the Alps, connecting the Swiss valleys with the plains of North Italy. The Chinese government plans to build a tunnel underneath the Bohai straits measuring 123km – more than twice the length of the Gotthard base tunnel – to reduce journey times between the port cities of Dalian and Yantai from eight hours to 45 minutes. © 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. The Gotthard Road Tunnel is one of the three tunnels that connect the Swiss Plateau to southern Switzerland and run under the Gotthard Massif, the two other being railway tunnels, the Gotthard Tunnel (1882) and the Gotthard Base Tunnel (2016). At the turn of the last century, the world’s then-longest railway tunnel connected Switzerland and Italy below the Alps. After 17 years of construction … In first instance it was only built for safety: an escape route in case of accidents. At 57km, the Gotthard base tunnel is 3km longer than the world’s current record-holder, the Seikan rail tunnel that links Japan’s two largest islands, Honshu and Hokkaido, and 7km longer than the Channel tunnel that connects England and France. It was built for the use of trains travelling from northern Switzerland to the Ticino area and beyond.[11]. Measuring 57 km in length, the Gotthard Base Tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world. Images highlighting some of the more unusual moments of the opening ceremony for the Gotthard base tunnel in Switzerland. The pro-tunnel Avanti Initiative brought a referendum to voters in February 2004, which was rejected (by 62.8%). Four giant drill heads were used to cut a path through the mountain range. Efforts to do this have failed, blocked by political resistance. The Gotthard Tunnel is the core and culminating point of the A2 motorway in Switzerland, running south from Basel through the tunnel down to Chiasso on the border with Italy. The Gotthard Rail Tunnel, close but separate from the expressway tunnel, handles rail traffic on the north-south line in Switzerland. The tunnel cost about £6bn and was entirely funded by the Swiss authorities. Relations between Switzerland and the European Union were put under strain two years ago when the country voted to introduce quotas for immigration from EU countries. It runs under the Swiss Alps and has a depth of 2,300 meters, making it the deepest tunnel on the planet. Once the works on the first tunnel are finished, the Swiss government plans to operate one single lane in each tunnel (northbound traffic in the newly constructed tunnel, southbound traffic in the renovated one) in order to maintain the current tunnel overall capacity, in compliance with the Swiss constitutional norm that forbids a further growth of the traffic capacity across the Alps. Tunneling and track-laying for the 35-mile NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel has been completed, making it officially the longest tunnel in the world, surpassing Japan's 14-1/2-mile Seikan Tunnel. The construction for what is now the world's longest tunnel began all the way back in 1996. • This article was amended on 1 June 2016. [5], In March 2014, the Swiss Government approved a bill to allow the building of a second road tunnel. Sixty-five per cent of the project’s construction costs were funded by a tax on heavy duty vehicles, of which about 3,600 used the old tunnel on an average day. (Confusion over whether petrol or diesel was in the truck that was hit stems from a mistranslation of the word "diesel" in the English version of the original article in German. Last modified on Sun 4 Mar 2018 07.47 EST. A statue of St. Barbara, protector of miners stands in the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel, during its official opening in Amsteg, Switzerland June 1, 2016. The Gotthard Rail Tunnel, close but separate from the expressway tunnel, handles rail traffic on the north-south line in Switzerland. Construction is scheduled to start in 2020, with the cost estimated at almost CHF 3 billion. Switzerland’s second big alpine tunnel of that generation, the Simplon tunnel, has been constructed 20 years later. Under construction since 2002 and opened on 1 June 2016, the Gotthard Base Tunnel (a second rail tunnel, 57 km [35 mi] long), is the world's longest. Once fully functional, the tunnel will not just slice 45 minutes off the journey time between Zurich and Lugano, but also form a central building block of the so-called Rhine-Alp corridor that stretches from the sea ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp via Germany’s industrial heartland down to the port of Genoa in Italy. The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) in Switzerland is the product of 17 years of work, including cutting through solid rock at depths of up to 7,500 feet. World’s longest rail tunnel to open in Switzerland Measuring 57 km in length, situated 2.3km deep under the Alps and having cost €11bn to complete, … Opened in 1906, it was the longest railway tunnel of the world for more than 80 years, until the opening of the Seikan tunnel. EU heads to take 57km maiden voyage in €11bn Gotthard base tunnel on Wednesday, Tue 31 May 2016 11.57 EDT It is no coincidence that the German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi have found the time to join Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann for Wednesday’s maiden voyage through the rail tunnel, which contains a 152km labyrinth of galleries, cross passages and shafts and has taken 17 years to complete. The Gotthard Road Tunnel in Switzerland runs from Göschenen in the canton of Uri at its northern portal, to Airolo in Ticino to the south, and is 16.9 kilometres (10.5 mi) in length below the St Gotthard Pass, a major pass of the Alps. The actual upgrade mining of the second road tunnel would last from 2020 to 2027 at a cost of 2.7 billion francs for the whole project including the following reconstruction of the first tunnel. In the process, almost 30m tonnes of rock and soil were transported from the massif’s inner core to the surface via a giant purpose-built lift. Carbon monoxide can trigger a clinical response at a level as low as 100 parts per million. With a maximum elevation of 1,175 metres (3,855 ft)[3] at the tunnel's highest point, the A2 motorway has the lowest maximum elevation of any direct north-south road through the Alps.[4]. Negotiations on whether Swiss measures, such as an “emergency break” on immigration in exceptional circumstances, were put on hold in the run-up to the British referendum. Its driver, Bruno Saba, who survived the fire, kept on driving as he was afraid his diesel might catch fire. Traveling around Europe by train just got a whole lot faster, thanks to the opening of Switzerland's Gotthard Base Tunnel. Artists perform during the grand opening for the tunnel, the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel. The world's longest and deepest train tunnel has opened in Switzerland, nearly two decades after construction began. Following Switzerland’s constitution, the outcome of its immigration referendum result has to be implemented by February 2017 – three years after the vote was held. The world's longest tunnel opens in Switzerland The world’s longest train tunnel officially opened on Wednesday under the Swiss Alps, aiming to ease transit in the heart of Europe. “We keep our promises, and we put our money where our mouth is.”. Pollegio (Switzerland) (AFP) - The world's longest tunnel officially opened on Wednesday, with the trailblazing rail passage under the Swiss Alps aiming to ease transit through the heart of Europe. In this category it is no longer the record-holder. Prior to the opening of the tunnel, cars were transported through the nearby railway tunnel on car shuttle trains. With a total length of 35.5 miles, the Gotthard Base Tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world. The tunnel will allow 260 freight trains to pass through the tunnel every day, as opposed to 180 in the old tunnel. Switzerland celebrated the opening of the world’s longest train tunnel, a 17-year project that cuts through the Alps and cost €11 billion to construct - but all anyone’s talking about is its ridiculous opening ceremony. On this guided tour, a window in the Amsteg access gallery permits a direct view of trains rushing by. The Seikan Tunnel in Japan and the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France are both in excess of 50 km (31 mi). Traffic flows through only one tunnel, which carries traffic both ways, with each direction allocated one lane. x ad by gifs.com The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel has officially opened in Switzerland, after almost two decades of construction work. [6], On 24 October 2001, a collision of two trucks created a fire in the tunnel, killing eleven and injuring many more, the smoke and gases produced by the fires being the main cause of death. Trains will be able to cross the Gotthard massif at a maximum speed of 250km/h, taking about 20 minutes. … Available for everyone, funded by readers, Regular passenger trains start using the 35-mile Gotthard Base tunnel, which took 17 years to build, The ceremony for the opening of the Gotthard base tunnel in Switzerland on Wednesday includes a blessing, acrobats, music and dance depicting Alpine culture and history, Swiss president says he hopes Gotthard base tunnel below Alps will help ‘join the people and the economies’ of Europe. The Gotthard base tunnel is 57km and in some places 2.3km from the surface. For the 2016 rail tunnel, see, The south entrance of Gotthard Road Tunnel. Switzerland is a mountainous country with the Alps being a large barrier in the transportation of passengers and freight. Gotthard Tunnel Switzerland. It started operations in December 2016. )[7][8] The effects of even small fires in a confined space like a tunnel are extremely serious because of the inability of gases and heat to disperse. The tunnel rises from the northern portal at Göschenen (1,080 m (3,540 ft)) and the culminating point is reached after approximately 8 kilometres (5.0 mi). The railway tunnel is also the deepest in the world with depths reaching 8,000 feet. Efficiency Update for One of the Longest Road Tunnels in the Alps. The new Gotthard base tunnel, which has been in planning since the 1980s, will bypass the old Gotthardbahn rail tunnel, which rises and falls through the massif in a winding route. The world’s longest tunnel officially opened on Wednesday, with the trailblazing rail passage under the Swiss Alps aiming to ease transit through the heart of Europe. Heavily used, the tunnel often has traffic jams during peak holiday seasons over Easter and summer, on both the north and south ends. The journey takes about 13 minutes by car, the maximum speed being 80 km/h. Whether Switzerland will be able to hold on to its title for long is questionable. Another point of note, that even in winter, the inside temperature of the tunnel can reach 38 °C (100 °F) while travelling through it. [citation needed], Construction on a second, parallel road tunnel was started. At a time of rising nationalism and closing borders, European leaders will also hope it can serve as a reminder that the continent can still smash barriers when it manages to pull together. Despite reports that petrol was the cause of the fire, the truck that was hit was a diesel truck. Road Tunnels in Switzerland (& FL) > 2000 m Tunnels en Suisse – Gallerie in Svizzera – Tunnels aus Schweiz Edited by: Eugenio A. Merzagora 28 th revision - December 2011 ... "The World's longest Tunnel Page" The pass road culminates about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above the tunnel, at a height of 2,106 metres (6,909 ft), and is only passable in summer. In Switzerland, the hope is that the Gotthard base tunnel will not only boost the trade route between northern and southern Europe but also shift alpine traffic from road to rail and reduce CO2 emissions, thus helping to protect the ecosystem. [9] The tunnel was closed for two months after the accident for repair and cleaning, reopening 21 December 2001. [10], To improve safety after the fire, no more than 150 trucks per hour are allowed to enter the tunnel.[7]. The Seikan Tunnel in Japan and the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France are both in excess of 50 km (31 mi). 1- Gotthard Base Tunnel, Switzerland The 35.4 miles long Gotthard Base Tunnel is the longest tunnel in the world. Show 0 comments 1 /1 World's longest tunnel completed in Switzerland will save an hour on [5] The tunnel was built roughly parallel to the old railway tunnel, with portals a few hundred metres away from those of the railway. The tunnel's speed limit is 80 km/h (50 mph). It was opened in 1882. Antwerp was originally described as a “Dutch sea port”, but it is, of course, in Belgium. Teams excavated 28.2m tonnes of rock in the process. After two or three more kilometres, the border between the cantons of Uri and Ticino is passed; after another 7 kilometres (4.3 mi), the tunnel ends at the southern portal near to Airolo (1,146 m (3,760 ft)). It was opened in 1882. Festivities with 1,200 invited guests, expected to cost about €8m, will mark the opening of the rail tunnel, which will be mainly used for further test journeys until commencing regular service in December 2016. [2] Although it is a motorway tunnel, part of the A2 from Basel to Chiasso, it consists of only one bidirectional tube with two lanes. World's longest rail tunnel begins regular service in Switzerland, World's longest rail tunnel opens with theatrical parade – video, Human cost of the 35-mile Swiss rail tunnel, European leaders open world's longest rail tunnel in Switzerland, World’s longest rail tunnel to open in Switzerland. The other direct north-south roads through the Alps with similar elevations are: Learn how and when to remove this template message, List of highest paved roads in Europe#Highest motorways, "Verkehrsentwicklung am Gotthard-Strassentunnel", "Second Gotthard road tunnel given green light", "Gotthard-Strassentunnel ist sicherer geworden – SWI", "Gotthard tunnel safer ten years after inferno – SWI", "Gotthard II: an extra tunnel but no new traffic", "Bundesrat will zweite Röhre für Gotthard-Strassentunnel", The official information page of the Gotthard Tunnel, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gotthard_Road_Tunnel&oldid=993229507, Articles needing additional references from September 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2020, Articles with German-language sources (de), Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 9 December 2020, at 14:05. 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