Arlberg tunnel will be open for the 2023/24 winter sports season

Wednesday 4 October 2023 at 08:54

After being closed for months, the Arlberg tunnel will reopen for the start of the winter sports season. The Gotthard tunnel is also open again after a short closure due to a crack. Here you can read everything about the reopening of the Austrian tunnels.

Is the Arlberg tunnel open?

The Arlberg Tunnel, located in the west of Austria, is undergoing major renovation work this year. The tunnel has been closed since April 2023, but the main connecting road between Tyrol and Vorarlberg will reopen from October 6. This is good news for people who go on winter sports in the Tyrol and Vorarlberg region in the Austrian Alps. However, this does not mean that all the work has been finished as from 15 April 2024, the tunnel will be closed again to continue the repair work.

The tunnel, which opened in 1978, is an important east-west traffic artery in the Austrian Alps. On average, more than 10,000 vehicles per day use the two-lane road that runs through the almost 14 kilometre long tunnel. The Arlberg Tunnel is of great importance for many winter sports areas in the Austrian Alps, such as Sankt Anton, Lech and Ischgl.

Over the past 45 years, maintenance of the tunnel has mainly focused on safety, but the road surface was no longer in optimal condition and so it was high time for a refurbishment. However, it did mean that the tunnel had to be closed to all traffic.

The work started in April 2023, but because the tunnel is of great importance to the Austrian infrastructure, especially in winter, the work has been temporarily suspended during the winter sports season. So, the first stage of the work will be completed on 5 October and the tunnel will be open as usual during the winter sports season. The tunnel will be closed again in April 2024 to resume the repair work.

Is there an alternative route for the Arlberg tunnel?

The reopening of the Arlberg tunnel before winter starts is a relief for winter sports enthusiasts going to Austria. One of the alternative routes for the Arlberg tunnel is the Arlberg pass, which causes a delay of about half an hour. In summer, the mountain pass is a scenic route through the Alps, which, apart from some delays, does not pose any major problems. However, this is not a reliable alternative in winter, because this mountain pass has to be closed regularly during the winter months due to bad weather conditions.

The Fern pass is another alternative route for the Arlberg tunnel, for example, to get to Ischgl. The Fern pass is slightly more reliable than the Arlberg pass, but it also covers an altitude of more than 1,200 meters and is therefore sometimes subject to major delays during heavy snowfall. So for the winter sports enthusiasts among us it is good news that the Arlberg tunnel will be open to traffic again during the winter season.

Don't forget travelling by car

Austria is a fantastic holiday destination, both in summer and in winter and it is relatively easy to travel there by car. But you must be well prepared before you travel to Austria by car. Especially if you go on holiday to Austria by car in winter, there are a number of things to pay attention to.

Winter tires in Austria

First of all you must ensure that you have winter tires on your car. If you drive from the Netherlands or Belgium to Austria, it is almost inevitable to drive part of the route through Germany. In Germany you do not need a toll vignette, but in winter conditions you are obliged to have winter tires installed on your car.

Winter tires are also mandatory in Austria between November 1 and April 15 in winter conditions. If there is snow and ice on the road, you are also obliged to use snow chains, so make sure you have them in your car.

Toll vignette for the Arlberg tunnel

You will need a separate toll vignette for some of the tunnels in Austria that cross the Alpine giants. You can use the Arlberg tunnel this winter, but you do need a valid vignette for your vehicle to use this tunnel.

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