“800 km of traffic jams”: the holiday season in Europe began with traffic jams

Hours of waiting in traffic isn’t exactly where we’d all like to start our holidays, but that’s what many Britons have experienced trying to cross the English Channel at Dover this weekend.

There have been huge queues at the southern English port since Friday as holidaymakers had to wait hours to board the ferry bound for France.

Although the backlog began to close on Sunday morning, the kilometer-long backlog led to a row between the British and French governments, with both sides blaming the other for the delays.

Trade unions, port officials and French authorities have said Brexit has caused the traffic problems British travelers face as longer checks are required now that the UK is no longer part of the EU.

However, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is currently campaigning for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, blamed France.

“The fact is that the French authorities did not deploy enough personnel at the border,” she said, emphasizing that France should resolve the situation.

“I’m very clear with them about this,” she added.

Dow Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, blamed French authorities for an insufficient number of border police officers, but acknowledged that post-Brexit delays would increase.

In late 2020, AFP reports that the British government has rejected a £33 million (€39 million) proposal to double capacity on the French side of the border.

“800 km of traffic”

There were also similar scenes of disruption to travel in other European countries as the peak holiday season began.

In France, traffic was particularly heavy on Saturday around Paris and between Lyon and Valence.

Authorities recorded a peak of 790 kilometers (490 miles) of traffic on Saturday during lunch on the main roads used by holidaymakers.

This peak was below the 930 kilometers (577 miles) recorded in France a year ago.

The situation was “in line with forecasts,” said the website Bison Futé, which classified traffic conditions in the Rhône-Alpes region as black, worst rated, orange nationally and red on the Mediterranean arc in reverse.

In Croatia, as the tourist season reaches its peak, traffic has increased on all roads leading to tourist destinations on the Adriatic coast.

Jelena Ivulic, coordinator for the Croatian national maritime shipping company Jadrolinija, told Euronews that passengers have been arriving in waves since early Saturday morning, when large crowds gather at the entrances to the ferry ports.

They expect over 75,000 passengers and over 15,000 vehicles over the weekend.

In Switzerland, holiday traffic on the north portal of Gotthard was stopped for 15 kilometers with waiting times of up to 2 and a half hours.