The Swiss government votes for a new Gotthard Road Tunnel though if citizens get a chance their view is unlikely to be as favourable.
Rome plans a massive congestion zone, France cracks down on smoking in cars, and Jersey on drinking, while Germany deploys new tactics in an attempt to rescue its EV strategy. Volvo Trucks unveils a new viral video.
GOTTHARD II ROAD TUNNEL APPROVED
Opposition fierce. National referendum likely.
After a three-hour televised debate the Swiss parliament last night backed plans for a new Gotthard road tunnel on the north-south A2 motorway.
However, the new tunnel will not increase capacity on one of Europe’s major routes across the Alps, at least at this stage.
It will be built merely to allow refurbishment of the existing 10.3 mile tunnel opened in 1980. Like the original, Gotthard II will be single lane in each direction only.
Opposition is fierce and will likely result in a nationwide referendum. The Alpine Initiative campaign has until January to find the necessary 50,000 signatures and will likely do so easily.
Renovation and building starts in 2020, is expected to take a decade and cost $2.9bn.
In theory the new tunnel could be filled in afterwards, or used as an access tunnel for emergencies.
Whether to open it on a permanent basis would also have to be put to a national vote.
Over six million vehicles pass through each year, a sixth of them HGVs. Delays can easily reach two hours at peak holiday periods with waits of thirty minutes not unusual at other times.
roundup: FRANCE. Drivers carrying children under the age of 12 will be banned from smoking, one of a range of measures announced today to cut down on the evil weed says thelocal.fr. In Europe it is currently only illegal to smoke in a car (with under-16s) in Cyprus though bans have been proposed in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Finland. Meanwhile, JERSEY is considering dropping the blood alcohol limit from its UK-standard 80mg/100ml to Continental-norm 50mg in an attempt to tackle its ‘100,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock’ image/reality. GERMANY. Norwegian(lite)style support for electric vehicles proposed today as the government seeks to rescue its stated aim (from 2011) of seeing 1m electric cars on the roads by 2020: a ten year exemption from car tax, free parking and €180m in federal R&D grants to the auto industry. Currently just 21,000 EVs are registered in Germany despite BMW’s big bucks foray into the sector with its ‘born electric’ i sub-brand.
‘Under the hood it’s a sports car’: Volvo Trucks is hoping its new ‘The Casino’ short – filmed in San Remo – will prove as big a viral hit as its genius predecessor, ‘Epic Split’. Unlikely, but still worth watching. The idea this time is to demonstrate the ease of its I-Shift double clutch transmission. The behind the scenes is good too.