Karawanks Tunnel (motorway)

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Karawanks Tunnel
Karawankentunnel Südportal+Nordportal.png
Southportal (top)  Slovenia / Northportal (bottom)  Austria
LocationSankt Jakob im Rosental, Carinthia, Austria/
Hrušica, Jesenice, Slovenia
Coordinates46°31′09″N 14°01′22″E / 46.51917°N 14.02278°E / 46.51917; 14.02278Coordinates: 46°31′09″N 14°01′22″E / 46.51917°N 14.02278°E / 46.51917; 14.02278
StatusSecond tube under construction
RouteKarawanken Autobahn/
A2 motorway
Work begunAugust 1986 / September 2018
OpenedJune 1991
ClosedWest-Tube: Q1 2024 - Q1 2026
OperatorASFiNAG / DARS
CharacterSingle-tube (Second tube under construction)
Length7,864 m (25,801 ft)
No. of lanes2
Operating speed80 km/h (50 mph)

The Karawanks Tunnel (German: Karawankentunnel, Slovene: Predor Karavanke or Karavanški predor) is a motorway tunnel crossing the Alpine Karawanks mountain range between Austria and Slovenia, with a total length of 7,864 m (25,801 ft) (4.89 miles), 8,019 m (26,309 ft) (4.98 miles) enclosure between the portals. Its construction began in 1986 and it opened on June 1, 1991. It connects the Austrian Karawanken Autobahn (A11) from Villach with the A2 motorway leading to Kranj and Ljubljana in Slovenia, decongesting the historic Loibl/Ljubelj and Wurzen/Korensko sedlo mountain passes.

Location of the Karawanks motorway tunnel
Location of the Karawanks motorway tunnel
Location of the Karawanks motorway tunnel


In the late 1970s it was planned by the Austrian Ministry of Traffic as a two-tube tunnel, (one two-lane tube for each direction), but lower than expected levels of traffic have meant that it has remained a single tube, single lane, two-way tunnel. The tunnel was built between 1986 and 1991 by the Tauern Autobahn stock company, represented by the Austrian state of Carinthia. At its opening it was one of the best equipped tunnels with safety and surveillance systems: emergency phones, fire detectors, video surveillance, traffic signalling, radio and phone connections, air circulation monitoring and carbon monoxide sensors.

Less than a month after its opening, in late June 1991, the Slovene terminus of the tunnel and its border post at Jesenice were briefly seized by an armoured detachment of the Yugoslav People's Army during the Ten-Day War. The site witnessed brief but intense fighting, which included the ferrying of reinforcements to the Yugoslav troops by helicopter and culminated in an ineffectual airstrike by the Yugoslav air force. The border checkpoint building was heavily damaged in the crossfire.[citation needed]

Construction of the second tube 2018-2026[edit]

Start of construction, East-Tube, Austria, September 18, 2018

Since Slovenia joined the Schengen Area in 2007, border controls have been abolished. Due to increasing traffic volume especially after the completion of the second tube of the Tauern Road Tunnel in June 2011, congestions crop up, especially on weekends in the summer season, and have led to the resumption of plans to build a second tube. The contract for the second twin tunnel was signed in September 2015.

After the construction of a 350 metres (1,150 ft) long bridge and the extension of the Autobahn, finished on the Austrian side by the end of 2017, the construction of the new tube itself successfully started on September 18, 2018 from the Austrian side. The construction start in Slovenia is postponed since the national review commission of Slovenia, DKOM, canceled the award of contract made with the Turkish contractor Cengiz Insaat which was initially chosen to build the Slovenian side of the tunnel at the end of November 2018 because of improper documents submitted for the tender offer to the Slovenian motorway operator DARS in August 2018[1][2]. Additionally DARS decided to reject all offers in general in the midst of February 2019 since all of them had errors according to the motorway company. Six bidders would have been invited to take part in a negotiated procedure with DARS including Cengiz Insaat. The period for objection however endet two weeks later when DARS received two formal objections from the Slovenian contruction companies Kolektor CPG and Gorenjska Gradbena. The expert commission from DARS now has to decide whether they will accept or reject the formal objections. If DARS should decide to reject the complaints, another decision would have to be made yet again by DKOM. In the meanwhile the Austrians managed to drill almost 700 meters into the mountain.[3][4][5][6] The second tube is set to be finished in February 2024[7]. After that, the old tube will undergo intense renovation for 2 years. Both tubes will finally open at the beginning of 2026.


Driving on Austrian as well as on Slovenian motorways requires a toll sticker. However, driving through the tunnel doesn't require any.[8][9] Instead, a special toll (2019 rate) of 7.40 euros[10] (20% VAT included) is imposed on drivers of vehicles up to 3.5 tons for using the tunnel. The toll is collected for the section from the closest on-ramp to the tunnel on the Austrian side to the Austrian/Slovenian border in the middle of the tunnel.[11] The Slovenian vignette is not required as the tunnel is not part of motorway sections with the mandatory use of vignettes.[9] The toll from the Slovenian side is also 7.40€.

Vehicles over 3.5t (trucks, buses, motorhomes) pay toll on Austrian highways based on number of kilometres travelled. For the 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) section that includes the tunnel a special rate equivalent to 8.6 times the normal one is applied, coming to 16.27-46.36 € incl.VAT (13.56-38.63 € + 20% VAT)[12] depending on number of axles and engine emission standard. Trucks entering from the Slovenian side pay toll no matter their EURO emission class.[13]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Cengiz Insaat ne bo gradil druge cevi predora Karavanke". Prvi interaktivni multimedijski portal, MMC RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  2. ^ "Turško podjetje izločeno iz razpisa za gradnjo karavanškega predora". Dnevnik. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  3. ^ Gole, Nejc (2019-02-15). "Karavanke: Dars zavrnil vse ponudbe in gre v pogajanja z gradbinci". www.delo.si (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  4. ^ "Dars se bo za izgradnjo karavanškega predora pogajal s šestimi ponudniki". RTVSLO.si (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  5. ^ "Svet24.si - Na avstrijski strani pridno gradijo, na slovenski pa želijo revizijo". Svet24.si - Vsa resnica na enem mestu (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  6. ^ G, N. (2019-02-28). "Zaradi pritožb se Dars o Karavankah še ne bo mogel začeti pogajati". www.delo.si (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  7. ^ https://www.asfinag.at/ueber-uns/newsroom/pressemeldungen/2018/zweiten-roehre-karawankentunnel/
  8. ^ "Tarife Sondermaut 2016" (in German). ASFiNAG. Retrieved 30 September 2016. Auf den Sondermautstrecken gibt es keine Vignettenpflicht
  9. ^ a b "Vignette system". DARS. Retrieved 31 August 2017. If you drive from Austria through Kravanke tunnel in the direction of central Slovenia, the use of vignette is not mandatory till Hrušica junction. The toll for tunnel Karavanke is valid between first two junctions on the both sides of the state border (junction Hrušica in Slovenia and junction Rosenbach in Austria)
  10. ^ STA (2018-12-20). "Z novim letom za 20 centov dražja vožnja skozi predor Karavanke". www.delo.si (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  11. ^ "Special toll rates 2016". ASFiNAG. Retrieved 30 September 2016. The special toll route is between the St. Jakob im Rosental junction and the national border in the Karawanken Tunnel (Rosenbach toll station)
  12. ^ "Toll rates 2016". ASFiNAG. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  13. ^ "Karavanke tunnel". DARS. Retrieved 31 August 2017.