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France-Italy road link to reopen Saturday after landslide

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
France-Italy road link to reopen Saturday after landslide
Photo by JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP

A key motorway linking France and Italy will reopen on Saturday, French Transport Minister Clément Beaune said on Friday, two weeks after a landslide blocked the route.

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The reopening of the A43 would allow planned maintenance work to go ahead on the Mont Blanc tunnel, an alternative route between the European neighbours, Beaune told local radio in the Savoie département ahead of a visit to the scene.

Delayed after the landslide, the work on the tunnel will be "slightly shorter" than planned, at seven weeks rather than the original 15, he said.

Around 10,000 cubic metres of rock fell in the Maurienne valley on August 27th after a period of intense heat followed by heavy rain.

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The landslide blocked the A43 as well as a local road and a railway line, cutting off several villages.

 

Trucks weighing more than 3.5 tonnes were only able to pass through the Mont Blanc tunnel, while a diversion was available for lighter vehicles.

Although the motorway is returning to service, Beaune said that it would "take longer" to reopen the railway line.

"It will be at least two months, very likely more" before trains roll through the Maurienne valley again, he added.

"Everything has to be cleared to get to the railway tunnel and then check the damage and repair it".

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