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Brenner Pass

The Brenner Pass (Italian Passo del Brennero) is an opening through the Tyrolean Alps along the current border between the nations of Austria and Italy. It is one of the few accessible points through which the Alps can be crossed in the Tyrol region, and for that reason has long been coveted by both nations. Since 1918, control of the pass has been shared between them.

The autobahn (motorway) E 45 (European designation; in Austria also called A 13, in Italy A 22), leading from Innsbruck via Bozen to Verona uses this pass and is one of the most important North-South connections of Europe. Its long traffic jams before the Brenner Pass are dreaded by all Northern Europeans who want to spend their holidays on the Mediterranean Sea.

Also, the heavy freight traffic of lorries travelling through the Inn valley to reach the Brenner, creating pollution in this scenic area, causes much debate in regional and European politics. There are calls to move much of this traffic onto the railway which also crosses the Brenner pass.

The Europabrücke (Bridge Europe) a few kilometers north of the Brenner is a large concrete bridge, letting the autobahn pass with 6 lanes over a valley in a height of 180 metres. 820 metres long, it was celebrated as a master piece of engineering when built from 1959 to 1963.

See also

Principal passes of the Alps

Last updated: 11-06-2004 20:39:52