Affiche Ausstellung. Foto: Forum Schweizer Geschichte.

The Tunnels of the Gotthard

In the context of the opening of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel, the Forum of Swiss History in Schwyz is exhibiting from April 16th until October 2nd, 2016, about this gigantic construction project, the biggest yet in Switzerland. The two earlier Gotthard tunnel projects – the railway tunnel and later the road tunnel – were technological masterpieces, but the new base tunnel breaks all records.

A mountain massif tunnelled three times within 150 years for traffic facilitation is unique. The exhibition explains why and how the three tunnels were built in response to changing economic and political circumstances.

Comparisons show that the Gotthard tunnels set new technological standards and brought profound economic and social changes. Visitors learn about the mountain’s history, from the medieval bridle paths to Switzerland’s most costly and prestigious construction project. This mountain has become more like an imposing edifice traversed millions of times yearly.

The exhibition’s first part explains how the three tunnels have changed the traffic flow across and through the mountain massif.

As numerous documents and objects make clear, the Gotthard route is Europe’s most important transport artery, giving rise to national ambitions and leading to consequences for the region.

The exhibition’s second part illustrates the tunnel systems’ economic relevance and cultural influence. Once one of the most important links between north and south, the old medieval bridle path over the Gotthard pass has been converted into Switzerland’s most costly construction project. Fifteen million tons of goods annually are carried by rail through the Gotthard, while seven million cars cross the Alps by this route.

(Source and further information: Forum Schweizerische Geschichte