Daily Brief 28 June 2013

Latest update 20:00

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Newslines: Italian motorway petrol station strike – Danger on the Loibl Pass – new Spanish traffic app – Bijaca border open – Trakia and Struma Highways to open imminently – new border pilot Belarus/Lithuania.

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Cash & Rocket On Tour

Yes you Cannes: Seventy glamorous, fashionable, rich - and, obviously, adventurous - women drove a collection of 35 very red, exotic sports cars 1,700 miles from Barcelona to Rome this week. Sponsored by Bentley, Maserati, Roberto Cavalli and Valentino among others. More on this soon.

Yes you Cannes: Seventy glamorous, fashionable, rich – and, obviously, adventurous – women drove a collection of 35 very red, exotic sports cars 1,700 miles from Barcelona to Rome this week. Sponsored by Bentley, Maserati, Roberto Cavalli and Valentino among others. More on this soon.

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TRAVEL/WEATHER:

Meteoalarm weather alerts – Amber warning for storms northern central east coastal Italy and in the eastern Baltic region.

Weather in brief – a band of cloud and rain across west and central Europe but fine across the north and south though with risk of heavy showers in Greece.

Crossing the Channel – DFDS sailings Harwich-Esbjerg resume on 5 July (see notes below).

Condor Ferries’ Rapide is operating on reduced power for the rest of the day Guernsey-St Malo-Jersey-St Malo, delays of 20-30mins. Problem expected to be fixed for tomorrow. Click for more.

No other operators reporting any current delays.

From @Port_of_Dover this morning: ‘Here in Dover sea conditions in the Channel are slight with South Westerly breeze, force 3-4 and the visibility is good.’

Latest @CF_travel_news forecast: ‘The current forecast indicates slight sea conditions for the week[end].’

See our Traffic/Travel/Weather page for the latest.

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NOTES:

Eurotunnel – “Resurfacing works will be taking place in the boarding lanes of the UK Terminal from 17 – 28 June. During this period, there will be no catering or toilet facilities available in this area. Please visit the Victor Hugo Terminal building after you have checked in to make full use of the facilities available there.”

Brussels – a European Summit for Heads of State on Thursday and Friday (27 and 28 June) will mean the area around the EU buildings in the east of the city will be completely closed to all traffic and pedestrians. Residents are even being barred from putting out their rubbish. Click for more.

Also, a large demonstration will take place in Brussels on Saturday 29 June 2013. This will lead to traffic congestion in the centre of the city from 2-4 pm, especially around the Central Station.

Bulgaria – continuing political demonstrations. The British Embassy says, ‘There is a small risk of violence. Avoid large gatherings in public spaces and follow local media and the advice of the local authorities.’ For the latest FCO travel advice click here. For Bulgarian news in English see www.Novinite.com or @novinite_com on Twitter.

DFDS Harwich-Esbjerg – sailings resume on Friday 5 July from Esbjerg at 18:45 and the day after from Harwich at 17:45. The DFDS service is the only regular car/passenger sailing between UK-Scandinavia. Limited space is sometimes available on DFDS Tor Line boats between Immingham/Tilbury-Gothenburg.

Luxembourg – the A4 south west of the capital will be closed all weekend while the ‘Sandweiler’ roundabout on the A1 east of the city (junction with N1a, and N2) will close overnight on Friday and Saturday. Diversions in place. Click for detail.

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NEWSLOG/PHOTOS:

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Italy – motorway petrol stations will strike in July over the high prices apparently charged by the oil companies. The stoppage will start at 22:00 on Tuesday 16 July and last until 06:00 Friday 19 July says ANSA news agency. According to the AA Fuel Price survey for June, unleaded 95 costs €1.75/l and diesel €1.63/l, both at the top end (but not the highest) in Europe.

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Danger on the Loibl Pass. Click for more great pictures.

Fearsome, and a real insight into what the competitors on the 1913 Alpine Trial faced, and in the same cars. The Loibl Pass on the Austria-Slovenia border rises 2,300ft in three miles. That's 28.5% overall but it's much steeper than that in places. We don't blame anybody who sat this one out: that's why they call them Passes.

Fearsome, and a real insight into what the competitors on the 1913 Alpine Trial faced, and in the same cars. The Loibl Pass on the Austria-Slovenia border rises 2,300ft in three miles. That’s 28.5% overall but it’s much steeper than that in places. We don’t blame anybody who sat this one out: that’s why they call them Passes.

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Spain – the DGT traffic authority has launched a free smartphone app as millions of motorists take to the road for the official start of the holiday season. Heavy traffic is expected at either end of this weekend particularly. The app is in Spanish only but the simple language and clear graphics means it’s useable even for English-only speakers (like us). It includes a route planner and can send traffic alerts and the locations of road works and speed cameras (of which there will many more this weekend).

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Russia – the Mayor of Moscow has threatened to give out the personal contact details of the chief of traffic police unless he sorts out the city’s system for dealing with violations.

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Bosnia/Croatia - the Bijaca International Border Crossing in southern Bosnia is officially open! It's one of two export posts, the other being at Gradiska in the north, as Croatia joins the EU on Monday.

Bosnia/Croatia – the Bijaca International Border Crossing in southern Bosnia is officially open! It’s one of two export posts, the other being at Gradiska in the north, as Croatia joins the EU on Monday.

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Belarus/Lithuaniaonly half Belarus’ border points are up to scratch says the Deputy Prime Minister as he announced a programme to install ‘exemplary’ border crossings today. The big issue is queues of heavy truck traffic. New parking areas will be built, with catering facilities, motels and automated priority systems, alongside expanded access lanes. A pilot scheme will be introduced at either Benyakoni or Kamenny Log, both just south of Vilnius. There is also some discussion about visaless entry to Belarus for the 2014 Ice Hockey Championships to be held in Minsk in May.

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Greece – the haulage industry, one of the first sectors to be liberalised under the country’s bailout conditions, has seen revenue halve as costs have risen and prices fallen over the last four years says ekatherimini.com. Two thirds of the 32,000 strong fleet is mothballed or based over the border in Bulgaria.

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Great News for Bulgaria

The Struma link highway to the Sofia Ring Road.

The Struma link highway to the Sofia Ring Road.

Bulgaria – the Trakia Highway will open on 12 July it has been announced. After twenty years of planning, the complete motorway linking the capital Sofia to the Black Sea at Burgas will be open to the public for the first time. The journey along its 395km will take three hours. Eighty percent of Trakia has been open for some time but a vital link at the east end has been tantalisingly delayed until now. It’s a rare cause for celebration in a country beset by political crisis and continued protests this year.

At the same time, the next section of the Struma Highway – ultimately to connect Sofia to the Greek border – will open at about the same time. The vital link in Struma however, across the Kresna Gorge, is still at the planning stage.

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