A worst-case scenario seems to have been averted, with the North West almost sealed off: The Mont Blanc tunnel will remain open. Close to Christmas, closed the following Monday until December 18th. But a video conference between Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini and his French counterpart Clement Biun on Wednesday evening defused the situation. The decision with all the details will come only on Monday from the Italian-French intergovernmental conference. But both ministers have announced the substance. Matteo Salvini recalled “The Frejus tunnel is closed due to a landslide, Mont Blanc is in danger of being closed due to works, Gotthard is derailed. Here we are in real danger of being blocked.”. The goal, continues Salvini, “Frejus must be opened as soon as possible, though obviously it is on the French front, but the French will decide that, but I respectfully ask that the work on Mont Blanc be postponed, otherwise it will be a mess.”.
Yesterday, the wait to enter the subway was about an hour. Salvini also made another statement: “Add to this the Austrian arrogance of preventing trucks from entering Austria from all over the world, creating huge environmental, social and economic problems that will demand hours”.
But, precisely, on the other side of the Alps, the French minister affirms: “We will postpone the planned works on the Mont Blanc tunnel,” said Peun. I talked about it with my Italian mate Salvini as it was an Italian request. Let’s postpone the work for at least a few days. The start of the works will be linked to the reopening of the A 43 (motorway from Lyon to Freges). The Frejus and Mont Blanc mines will not be closed at the same time: that would be unsustainable». According to MIT’s note, Salvini and Buon agreed to hold a meeting at the Barcelona Transport Ministerial Council on September 21-22 and to organize a joint inspection of the Turin-Lyon construction sites soon after.
On the other hand, when the Mont Blanc tunnel will be closed, it will only be known on Monday. In fact, the most likely hypothesis is that the work on redoing the reinforced concrete vault of the 12 km tunnel could be postponed to September 2024.
And, as Aosta Valley Governor Renzo Testolin said, the tunnel should still be open for the Christmas holiday, when tourist arrivals peak. Enzo D’Alicantro Pompilio, president of Turin hauliers (Fai), was satisfied, adding: “Now the government and the Piedmont region must make another effort to avoid Euro 5 diesel vehicles clogging up the roads”.
Meanwhile, the last part of the Turin-Lyon line was delivered. A consortium led by Itinera, along with Gella and Spy Batignolles, will build the Monsenizio base tunnel in Italy. All works for the 57.5 km tunnel have been completed.
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