The world’s fourth-longest road tunnel, the Gotthard road tunnel in Switzerland, is closed in both directions until further notice due to a crack in the tunnel roof.
An initial survey showed a 25-meter (82-foot) crack in the intermediate ceiling, the Swiss Federal Roads Office (Astra) said in a press release Monday.
“Near the north tunnel portal, concrete parts have come loose and fallen onto the roadway,” Astra said. No one was injured. The tunnel was closed around mid-afternoon on Sunday, according to the office.
“Now, first and foremost, we have to determine the cause and extent of the damage and see how we can repair the damage as quickly as possible,” Jerome Jacky, head of communications at Astra, told public broadcaster SRF on Monday.
Until the work is completed, he said, the road tunnel will remain closed for the time being. How much time it will take to repair the damage is unknown at this point, according to Jacky.
Earlier, on Aug. 10, the Gotthard train tunnel, at 57 kilometers (35.4 miles) the longest train tunnel in the world – running roughly parallel to the road tunnel but over three times as long – had already been closed after a freight train derailed.
No one was injured in the derailment, which was probably caused by a broken wheel, but the damage was considerable. Most of the 16 wagons that fell off the tracks are still stuck in the tunnel.
The Gotthard train tunnel is an important artery for freight traffic, especially between Germany in the north and Italy in the south. According to the Swiss government, more than two-thirds of rail freight traffic through the Alps passed through the tunnel last year.