This article gives some details of the design, construction, ventilation, operation, and maintenance of the 17km long St Gotthard road tunnel in Switzerland. The tunnel's curved alignment allowed short, easily accessible ventilation shafts to be sunk from the existing pass road, shortened that part of the tunnel which was in unfavourable geological zones, and decreased the monotony of what would otherwise have been a straight route. The tunnel has two traffic lanes with a total width of 7.8m and an inner vertical clearance of 4.5m. Its four ventilation shafts are provided with a waterproof membrane throughout. Its safety tunnel is pressurised against the main tunnel, and has an independent ventilation system. The tunnel's construction had two phases, and simultaneous drives from both its ends; the safety tunnel was excavated parallel to, but always ahead of, the main tunnel. The traffic volume, and its accidents, are steadily increasing; there have been 667 accidents, with 14 fatalities, since it opened in 1980. Total annual costs have changed little, because the cost most dependent on traffic levels, ventilation, has decreased. There were two serious vehicle fires in 1997, but without casualties. For traffic and safety reasons, a second St Gotthard road tunnel is urgently needed.

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  • Publication Date: 1999-4


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 00767191
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 6 1999 12:00AM