A Conversation for Italy

Mont Blanc tunnel closed until?

Post 1


Concerning the 'getting there' part of the Italy entry, note that the Mont Blanc tunnel (that actually connects France and the Aosta valley in the north-western corner of Italy) has been closed since the severe accident on March 24 1999, in which 30 people died after a car crach in which a lorry loaded with margarine caught fire!
It has not been possible to find out when it will re-open, rumors go that there are now problems with setting up emergency procedures between the French and the Italian authorities.
IF you are going from cross this part of the Alps, you will have to use either, to the east, the Great St. Bernhard tunnel between Val d'Aosta and Wallis in Schwitzerland or, to the south, the Frejus tunnel: http://www.stm.it/sestriere/valsusa/etrafori.htm for the road between Torino (Turin) and Lyon.

Mont Blanc tunnel closed until?

Post 2


The rumour I've heard is that the Mt. Blanc tunnel might actually not re-open, due to pressure from the people living in the area of France leading up to the tunnel mouth. For the first time in their lives, they are breathing freash air, rather than oxygen-enriched carbon monoxide, and have developed a taste for it.

I have to point out that the entry on Italy contains a serious error in that the Mt. Blanc tunnel connects Italy with France, not Switzerland. What the writer is probably thinking of is the St. Gotthard tunnel, which connects Central Switzerland with the Italian-speaking Ticino region. The change in climate as one goes through the tunnel is spectacular, as are the traffic jams every public holiday, as thousands of Swiss, German and Dutch holiday-makers, try and drive to Italy and, at the end of their holidays, drive back home again. The problem is that the tunnel is single carriageway, whereas the motorway on either side is double carriageway - road planning at its absolute best!! The other problem is that the tunnel is extremely long (19 km) dark and polluted, with no barrier separating you from on-coming traffic. Accidents resulting from this are fortunately extremely rare, but, it's quite common for none-Swiss drivers to get claustrophibia attacks, panic and start crawling along at about twenty mph, with a frustrated queue building up behind them. Overtaing in the tunnel is strictly forbbidden, and as every inch of the tunnel is watched by CCT cameras, if you do overtake, the police will be waiting for you when you reach the end.

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Mont Blanc tunnel closed until?

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