Austrian authorities have recently announced that a block-based lorry handling system will be implemented on 24 additional days in 2018 on the Austrian-German border crossing at Kufstein. The section between Kufstein and Innsbruck of the Inn Valley Highway A12, together with the Brenner Pass and the German A93 and A8 highways, form the main transport axis from southern Germany to northern Italy. In 2017, more than 2.25 million trucks transited this corridor, a record increase of 8 per cent on the previous year, prompting calls for more transit regulations and environmental protection.
As high volumes of truck traffic are again expected before and after public holidays in 2018, the block-based lorry handling is likely to reduce noise and pollution as well as maintain smooth cross-border traffic. As part of these measures, authorities will count the number of trucks passing the border and not allow more than 250 trucks per hour. Once this number has been reached, speed limits or even a temporary driving ban for trucks will apply for the remainder of the full hour. Previously, block-based lorry handling was carried out in early January and March 2018, creating long queues of trucks from Rosenheim on the A93 highway in the direction of Austria as well as tailbacks of up to 25 km to the A8 highway from Munich in the direction of Salzburg.
The announced dates for the remainder of 2018 are as follows:
– April 3, 5, 26, 30;
– May 2, 7, 8, 11, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30;
– June 1;
– July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30;
– August 16;
– October 27;
– November 2, 5.
To develop long term alternatives, Germany, Austria and Italy agreed in February 2018 to promote cross-border rail services transporting entire trucks on rail wagons on the north-south rail corridor over the Alps. In this context, the northern Italian regions of Trentino and South Tyrol may also increase tolls for road freight traffic transiting the Brenner highway from Austria. It is expected that first concepts on how to implement such a toll for trucks will be introduced at a political summit between Germany, Austria and Italy, slated for May 2018.