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DRIVING

When and where to avoid driving in Austria this summer

While driving is a convenient way to get from A to B - or to go on holiday - there are some key dates and locations to be aware of in Austria this summer. Here’s what you need to know.

When and where to avoid driving in Austria this summer
Avoid traffic delays this summer in Austria by planning ahead. (Photo by GUENTER SCHIFFMANN / AFP)

Nothing spoils a summer holiday quicker than being stuck in traffic in sweltering weather.

It’s a situation that can be hard to avoid during the peak summer travel months of July and August, but it is possible to plan ahead to bypass the worst congestion.

Here’s The Local’s guide on when and where to expect high levels of traffic on Austrian roads this summer.

FOR MEMBERS: 7 things to know about driving in Austria this summer

Get to know Austria’s traffic calendar

The traffic calendar (Staukalender, in German) is exactly how it sounds – it’s a calendar displaying important dates where travellers could be impacted by congestion on the roads.

The calendar is compiled by the Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club (ÖAMTC), a traffic club and non-profit association that was established to support and represent drivers and cyclists in Austria.

Every year Barbara Kner from ÖAMTC Mobility Information collects details about public holidays, planned construction work, border controls and events.

The ÖAMTC then uses this information to create the traffic calendar and traffic volume forecasts to help motorists better plan their trips.

READ MORE: Austria sees scores of flight cancellations after airline staff contract Covid

How does the traffic calendar work?

The traffic calendar is very simple to use.

Simply click the link and then browse through the pages on a month-by-month basis. 

The main events and planned construction projects are already in the calendar, so you can see where you might come across traffic on your journey and make any necessary changes to an itinerary.

You can also click on a specific date to be redirected to the ÖAMTC route planner for further details about traffic, parking spots and nearby petrol stations.

Both the traffic calendar and the route planner are available on desktop or via the ÖAMTC app.

Key dates in the traffic calendar for summer 2022 (and beyond)

Here are some key dates from the traffic calendar for the coming months.

School summer holidays – July to September

In 2022, the start of the school summer holidays will be staggered over the first two weekends in July, with regions in the east of Austria starting on July 2nd and the west on July 9th.

The ÖAMTC warns that the second weekend in July typically sees higher levels of traffic on roads in Austria, followed by the start of the Bavarian travel season on August 1st.

The last northbound wave of returning holidaymakers is expected on the main transit routes during the second weekend in September.

READ ALSO: Can I use my foreign driving licence in Austria?

Planned construction

Every year, major construction works are planned during the summer months while the weather is usually warm and dry, but it often plays havoc with travel plans for travellers in Austria.

In 2022, construction work is due to take place on the Ofenauer and Hiefler tunnels on the A10 in the province of Salzburg from September. 

Construction work on a chain of tunnels in Werfen (Zetzenberg, Helbersberg, Brentenberg) will also take place at the same time and the projects are scheduled to run until 2025 with breaks for summer traffic.

As a result, motorists should expect to hit traffic before entering the tunnels while work is ongoing.

Festivals

Electric Love takes place at the Salzburgring just outside of Salzburg from July 7th to 9th.

The FM4 Frequency Festival will be held from August 18th to 20th in St. Pölten in Lower Austria.

Both festivals are expected to create high levels of traffic, both on the way to the venue and afterwards.

As a precautionary measure, the ÖAMTC breakdown service will set up its own base at the site of these festivals or within the local area to provide assistance to motorists.

FOR MEMBERS: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

Major sporting events

Other important events that are likely to cause congestion on Austrian roads are the F1 GP race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria, on July 10th.  This is then followed by the MotoGP on August 21st. 

For both events, delays are likely on the Murtal Expressway (S36) before and after the race so be sure to plan ahead when travelling to the track.

Likewise, the F1 GP race in Hungary on July 31st is expected to cause traffic jams at the Austrian/Hungarian border in Nickelsdorf on the A4.

From 2nd to 3rd September, AirPower – the annual aircraft event with performances from the Red Bull Skydiving team and the Austrian Armed Forces – will take place in Zeltweg in Styria. 

Motorists could encounter traffic on the S36 during this time (particularly for people arriving or leaving the site).

READ MORE: The best Austrian wineries to visit this summer

Marathons and Ironman events

Ironman competitions will take place at Lake Wörthersee in Carinthia on July 3rd, and in Zell am See in Salzburg on August 28th. Motorists should expect traffic delays and road closures in the regions both the day before and on the morning of the events.

The Wachau Marathon will be held on September 25th along the B3 in Emmersdorf to Krems. As a result, the B3 will be closed to vehicles from 8am.

The Kleine Zeitung Graz Marathon takes place on October 9th, which means many roads in the city centre are closed on October 8th and 9th. Instead, park and ride options will be available and a limited service of buses and trams by the Graz Linien.

In Lower Austria, the Linz Donau Marathon is on October 23rd. From 5.30am there will be extensive road closures throughout the city centre and the Vöest freeway bridge will be closed from 2am to 12pm.

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For members

VIENNA

Summer traffic chaos: Construction work to be aware of in Vienna

The mid-year vacation months are when Austria tends to get most of its road and traffic work done. Here is the calendar for Vienna.

Summer traffic chaos: Construction work to be aware of in Vienna

The summer vacation months are a time when many people in Austria tend to go to their idyllic destinations. However, for those left in the country, especially the capital Vienna, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a lot of what the city has to offer.

Still, people may notice that the city has become quite a Baustelle, or a construction site, with loads of work being done on its public transport lines, streets and avenues.

READ ALSO: 7 things to know about driving in Austria this summer

For you to enjoy your summer in the city without facing too much traffic or disturbance, here is a list of the major construction sites in Vienna:

First and second districts

In Vienna’s first district, several sites are currently under construction or maintenance. The main areas are due to subway construction and should last for a long time, especially the work in Volksgartenstraße for the U2 and U5 lines, which is expected to last until 2028 and affects metro lines as well as partially blocking the lanes for car traffic.

In Franz-Josefs-Kai from Salztorgasse and Salztorbrücke until Rotenturmstraße and Marienbrücke, the renovation work of the subway will affect vehicle traffic until October 2nd – only two lanes will remain open for traffic.

READ MORE: What is Austria’s ‘traffic calendar’ and how can it help me save time?

The bridge repair work in Franzensbrücke required that the bridge be closed to vehicle traffic in both directions since June 6th.

Work in and around the Gürtel

Some of Vienna’s busiest roads will have intense work over the summer months. For example, until September 11th, the right lane on the Landstraßer Gürtel in the direction of travel to the A23 will be closed at night (from 8 pm to 5 am).

Extensive work in the Äußerer Gürtel will be carried out in sections until September 2nd, with only two lanes open for traffic.

Other construction sites

There are a few constructions works over summer in Simmering. Most notably, in Svetelskystraße, which led to the closure of a lane in Etrichstraße in the direction of travel to Simmeringer Hauptstraße.

In the 14th district, a road construction from Deutschordenstraße will close the street section between Hadikgasse and Keißlergasse until August for private transport. The work extends to the 13th district, and a part of the Auhofstraße (between Seuttergasse and ON 185) will be affected during the summer months.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

In the 20th district, Forsthausgasse 2-8, two lanes will be merged and the right-turn lane will be closed for work until August 12th, but pedestrian and bicycle traffic won’t be affected.

In the 21st district, Prager Straße 35-39, construction work will be carried out by day and two lanes will be left open in the direction of heading downtown.

The Kagraner Brücke, in the 22nd district, will also go through maintenance work until August 18th. During this time, traffic will be partially diverted to head into the city.

These are some of the main construction works in Vienna during the summer months. To see a complete list, including construction sites that began months (or years) ago and should last for longer, you can check out the official website here.

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