Another Black Saturday on the Roads – Trick Bothnia Ferry

TODAY: looking ahead to another busy Saturday on Europe’s roads, Italy particularly, as returnees get into their stride.

A smart new ecoferry will cut across the Gulf of Bothnia between Umea and Vaasa. Spot tests nab 18,000 DUI drivers and a lot of dangerous trucks. A drunk biker hits 160mph. Trucks are already being stopped at the Russian (Belarusian and Estonian) border due to Russian food sanctions.

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ANOTHER BLACK SATURDAY ON EUROPE’S ROADS

Overall less busy than last week, except Italy. Returnees the issue.

France:

France, Friday. Left: traffic heading for the red areas will be heavy from Friday afternoon (black would be the busiest). Right: less busy as drivers head home from the orange regions. The heaviest traffic will be on Saturday. Picture @TRAFnational

Saturday will be another ‘black day’ on Europe’s roads though – apart from Italy – slightly less busy, we think, than last week. However, returnees are really starting to get into their stride. Expect delays in both directions this weekend.

As usual the rush will start Friday afternoon, be at its worst from early on Saturday (in France particularly) before settling down late afternoon and into Sunday.

In France, Bison Fute has black flagged the roads in the south on Saturday. Busiest will be the A7 Lyon-Avignon, A10 Paris-Orleans-Bordeaux and A9 Orange-Montpellier-Spain.

The A71/A75 via Clermont Ferrand was very crowded last week due to an accident. Hopefully, like the other central route, A20 Limoges-Toulouse, it will be quieter – if only relatively – this Saturday.

See more about surviving Black Saturdays in France here. To sum up, leave as late as possible.

Returnees will be more pronounced in Germany as regions across the north prepare to go back to school. Road works will help clog the A7 Hannover-Hamburg-Denmark. The hot roads in the south will be the A3/A9 Frankfurt-Munich and A8 Munich-Salzburg.

OAMTC says this weekend will be the climax of the summer’s holiday traffic meaning transit routes especially. So the A13 Brenner to Italy, A10 Salzburg-Villach, A12 Innsbruck-Munich and, inevitably, B179 Fernpass from Germany.

The school holidays are already over for many kids in Switzerland. Delays have already been noticeably heavy this week northbound at the Gotthard Tunnel. Expect more of the same.

Finally, Saturday will be the busiest day of the year on Italian roads. Even last weekend, the combined delays on the A1/A14 Milan-Bologna-Rimini were around four hours, mostly at Bologna. Also, the A4 Venice-Trieste saw long delays. The A22 Brennero was quiet to start with but got into its stride later on. Expect delays all day this weekend.

Coming back on Sunday, the roads around the Ligurian coast in the north west – A10 and A12 to Savona and Genoa – generally see longest jams.

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A trick new ecoferry will soon be sailing across the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden.

This slick new ecoferry will sail across the Gulf of Bothnia, between Vaasa in Finland and Umea in Sweden. The likely gas-powered vessel, for low emissions, is currently a design study. Eventually it will be a fundamental part of an EU-supported project to upgrade the existing route into a fully-fledged ‘multi-modal logistics corridor’ but regular passengers will be able to use it too. The ports, road and rail links are also in the process of being spruced up. The (currently) four hour Vaasa-Umea crossing – less the one hour time difference – is exactly half way up the Gulf. It’s handy because it allows touring drivers to something of each country on the way between Stockholm and Helsinki without having to drive over the top of the Gulf, a – rewarding – trip which takes around a day and a half between the two capital cities.

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roundup: POLICE. The pan-European drink and drug driving campaign, co-ordinated across 30 countries in early June, saw police conduct 1,168,631 road side breath tests – 18,391 of which were positive, a strike rate of 1.6%. Nearly 3,000 drug drivers were also caught. Meanwhile, in LUXEMBOURG spot checks on trucks found twelve needing immediate repairs on-site, mainly due to faulty brakes and tyres (and several bodged repairs by the drivers). FRANCE. A local biker clocked at 257kph on the RD14 near Saint-Gervais was found to be more than twice over the limit. FINLAND. Finnish trucks carrying dairy produce to Russia have already been halted at the border. Earlier today, the Russian prime minister announced a ban on many foodstuffs from the EU in retaliation for sanctions over the situation in east Ukraine. Update 8 August: reports that Lithuanian trucks have been stopped at the Belarusian and – oddly – the Estonian borders due to Russian sanctions.

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GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: significant queues at midnight, up to 30mins early evening.

CALAIS TRUCKS MIGRANT’S PETITION: 3,120 signatures since 15.7. See @Justice4Trucker.

CONDOR FERRIES: Commodore Clipper out of action until 26 August, see @Clipperupdate.

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