A spruce up for Tranfagarasan will see it open for much longer in future. The long closure of the Gotthard Tunnel yesterday was caused by a fatal crash involving a biker, apparently on the wrong side of the road. Pordoi and Gardena Passes in the Dolomites remain closed after a flash of lightning strikes while the Mail on Sunday reveals the upcoming eCall devices are actually tracker chips.
GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH: just 30min delay crossing the Spanish frontier, at lunchtime.
TRANSFAGARASAN OPENING TIME DOUBLED
And connected to West European motorways by Summer 2016
There only thing wrong with DN7C Transfagarasan is its narrow operating window.
Romania’s blue chip mountain pass – described by Jeremy Clarkson in 2009 as ‘the best road in the world’ – only opens from 1 July to 1 November in 2014.
Renovations about to start however will see the opening time more than doubled. Regional roads director Adriana Nicula told Romania Insider today, ‘When the work will be completed, we hope Transfagarasan will be closed maximum three months per year.’
Much of the work will be done on the northern section, before the tunnel at the summit. As well as repairing the road surface, drainage channels and ditches will be cleared. The work could take up to four years in total but the road will remain open throughout.
Meanwhile, Tranfagarasan will be fully connected to the European motorway by summer 2016. Currently there is just 100 miles of the A1 left to build between Sibiu, a few miles from the north entrance to DN7C, and the Hungarian border. It is almost exactly 1,300 miles from Calais to Sibiu.
Transfag Tips: it’s generally held to be better north to south. Even if the summit is closed, at 60 miles long you can still drive most of it. Don’t forget nearby Transalpina, or the newly opened Transbucegi.
BALKANS ROAD BUILDING ROUNDUP: the Romanian govt also announced last week that motorway across the Carpathians, parallel to Transfagarasan, would be finished in 2019. The sections south from Sibiu and north from Pitesti, not including the mountains, will open in 2017. It is also tendering for feasibility studies for another 10 projects of 1,000km in total. Despite A1 linking Romania to the rest of the European network, PM Ponta insists the Comarnic-Brasov motorway in the east is the priority project and says construction will start this year. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian tranmin is promising work on plugging the large gap in the Hemus Highway – between Sofia and the Black Sea across the north of the country – will start at the end of this year. Of the three lots, west to east, Lot One, from Yablanitsa where the existing road ends to the junction of the Lovech/Pleven road will be first. There is much more to do but Hemus will finish the basic national motorway network. Finally, new Serbian PM Aleksander Vucic says the Belgrade-Bar motorway, to the Adriatic via Montenegro, will be ready in four years.
roundup: ITALY. More than 1,000 lightning strikes yesterday afternoon saw both SR48 Pordoi and SS242 Gardena passes closed temporarily. Both roads run east-west roughly between Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites and Barbiano, on the A22 Brennero motorway. Both were still closed Monday evening. Will update. SWITZERLAND. A German biker apparently on the wrong side of the road tragically died in a crash inside the A2 Gotthard Tunnel yesterday morning. The two-way single lane tunnel has a strict no overtaking rule. Long queues, especially northbound, lasted until the early evening. The alternative Gotthard Pass is not expected to open until 23 May. EU. Much controversy after the Mail on Sunday said the upcoming eCall devices – a SIM card that automatically alerts emergency services after an accident – are actually tracker chip bugs. Here’s why we think you don’t have to worry.