As Austria tightened its border controls at midnight, holidaymakers who wanted to drive through the country on their way home got stuck in a traffic jam, with up to 15 hours waiting time.
The stricter border controls meant that all vehicles that wanted to enter Austria had to be checked and registered, even the ones that were only passing through to other countries.
As many people, including a lot of Belgians, Dutchmen and Germans are currently returning from their holidays, the checks caused an enormous traffic jam.
“We finally passed through the tunnel, after 15.5 hours of standing still,” Els Cornelis, a Flemish woman on her way back from a trip in Istria with her family, told VRT on Sunday morning. At the border with Austria at the Karawanks tunnel, she and her family came to a standstill due to strict border controls by the Austrian police.
Marko Nevens and his family also got hopelessly stuck in a traffic jam. From 4:00 PM to 6:00 AM, he, his girlfriend and two young children, stood still without any information about what was going on, in the scorching heat. “When we got stuck in a traffic jam, it was 35 degrees,” he told VRT.
Last night, the Austrian traffic information service reported 12 kilometres of traffic jams on the Slovenian side of the Karawanks tunnel.
— ANWBeuropa (@ANWBeuropa) August 23, 2020
Since Sunday morning, the situation seems to have improved as the Austrians are reportedly letting more cars drive through. Delays, however, are expected to continue all through the day.
[KARAVANKE UPDATE ℹ️] Austrians have more or less removed themselves from the border control. At the moment traffic counter is showing approximately 750 vehicles per hour enters Austria.
Karavanke, 5 kilometres.
Ljubelj, 2 kilometres.
Alternative: ➡️ via Graz pic.twitter.com/x1s4f15DCl
— Promet_si (@promet_si) August 23, 2020
Some fights even broke out, according to Nevens. He wanted to buy some water at a nearby gas station. “But there were hundreds of people, and there was nothing left to buy. People even started fighting because the last pizzas had been handed out.”
The Brussels Times