Traffic congestion during summer
29 June 2023
The summer holidays in the Netherlands are neatly divided by region into a number of weeks. This is not the case in other European countries. To avoid traffic chaos, driving bans for freight traffic often apply here in July and August. There will also be road closures around Rotterdam during this period. We’ll tell you exactly what you need to take into account!
Delivery, loading and unloading restrictions
During the summer holidays, there are quite a few days when driving bans for truck traffic apply. Driving, as well as loading and unloading, is then not possible. Traffic may also encounter problems in the days before and/or after. Due to the long distances travelled by European freight traffic, trucks often fail to unload at the final destination on the same day as departure.
Is there a weekend driving ban in France? Then it is not possible to unload in southern France at 6:00 hours on Monday morning. Even delivery on Friday afternoons is then difficult. Normally, trucks do not drive back without new cargo, but on Friday afternoon there is little time to load new goods. Sometimes a decision is then made by the transport company to return the truck empty, before the driving ban takes effect. Or the journey will be postponed until after the weekend. As a result, surcharges are sometimes passed on.
Road closures around Rotterdam
You should also be aware of road closures in the Rotterdam region during the summer months. Transport to and from the Maasvlakte will be affected. The closure of the Heinenoord Tunnel already caused a lot of traffic disruption during the May holidays. Unfortunately, the road works have not yet been completed. The tunnel will be closed again from 5 August to 1 September. This will again start causing additional delays and longer travel times.
Besides the closure of the Heinenoord tunnel, the Haringvliet bridge will also be closed from 9 June to 4 August. During the closures, heavy traffic is again expected on connecting roads. The Kil tunnel, near Dordrecht, will then be toll-free with a view to improving traffic flow.
Driving bans by European country
On Sundays and/or public holidays, driving bans abroad often already apply. But in July and August, these are extended in some European countries. Below, we provide a brief overview of which driving bans are in place for some of Ritra’s key European destinations:
Vehicles larger than 3 metres are banned from driving on Saturdays in Belgium between 12:00 hours and 24:00 hours the following day (Sunday). There are also two important holidays to take into account in July and August: Friday 21 July (bank holidays) and Tuesday 15 August (Assumption Day). Driving is also banned on these days.
On all Saturdays in the months of July and August from 07:00 hours to 20:00 hours, there is a driving ban in Germany. Between 20:00 hours and 24:00 hours, truck traffic will be allowed to drive again, but after 24:00 hours, the Sunday driving ban starts. On Sundays and public holidays, Germany has a driving ban between 24:00 hours and 22:00 hours all year round. This applies to trucks heavier than 7.5 tonnes with trailers.
During the summer period, there is an additional driving ban in France for vehicles and vehicle combinations heavier than 7.5 tonnes. And limited traffic is possible on the following Saturdays: 15 July, 22 July, 29 July, 5 August, 12 August, 19 August and 26 August. The driving ban on these days applies from 07:00 hours to 19:00 hours. 2 hours later, the Sunday driving ban starts at 22:00 hours on Saturday.
Furthermore, there is a ban in France on every Sunday and public holiday from 22:00 hours the previous day until 22:00 hours that Sunday or public holiday on all roads, for vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes. Friday 14 July and Tuesday 15 August are national holidays.
In Italy, a driving ban applies on Sundays and public holidays for vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes. Normally, this ban is between 09:00 hours and 22:00 hours. But during the summer period, it starts earlier, as early as 7:00 hours. Tuesday 15 August is a bank holiday.
In Spain, driving bans for lorries heavier than 7.5 tonnes apply throughout the Basque region on Saturdays and days before a public holiday between 22:00 hours and 24:00 hours. And on Sundays and public holidays, between 24:00 hours and 22:00 hours. Vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes carrying hazardous materials are not allowed to operate on days before public holidays (except Saturdays) from 13:00 hours to 24:00 hours and on Sundays and public holidays from 08:00 hours to 24:00 hours. Tuesday 15 August is a bank holiday in Spain.
On Sundays and public holidays, there is an all-day driving ban in Switzerland. There is also a daily night-driving ban between 22:00 hours and 5:00 hours. Tuesday 1 August is a bank holiday in Switzerland. The driving bans apply to vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes.
Exception to the rule
To avoid problems, we recommend you take driving bans and road closures into account in your planning. This will help you to avoid unnecessary delays and costs.
In general, driving bans apply to trucks heavier than 7.5 tonnes. Sometimes this is lighter, at 3.5 tonnes. There are also other exceptions to the rule. Transport of perishable goods may be excluded, as well as live animals. This may vary from country to country. If in doubt, we recommend you consult this TLN overview or simply contact us.
This overview has been compiled by us with the utmost care. However, we rely on third-party information for this. As a result, the overview may not be entirely up to date.
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