Trojsky Most opens to the public, a milestone in the torturous construction of Prague’s record-breaking Blanka Tunnel Complex.
Also, new clean-ferry fuel rules next year raise the spectre of fare surcharges. Belgium’s marathon ‘speed blitz’ is in doubt. Italy’s A1 Autostrada del Sole celebrates its fiftieth birthday. Rally spectators in Italy have a super-close shave.
‘TROJSKY MOST’ PREVIEWS EUROPE’S LONGEST CITY TUNNEL
Prague’s Blanka Tunnel Complex: difficult construction starting to bear fruit.
After a long and difficult gestation, the Blanka Tunnel Complex took a significant step forward today when the Trojsky Most (Trojan Bridge) opened to the public.
The 250m bridge crosses the Vltava in the north west of Prague, at the eastern portal of the three consecutive Blanka tunnels. Trams run through the middle with two lanes for cars each side.
The 6.4km series of tunnels will vie with Madrid’s M30 ring for the title of Europe’s longest city tunnel and certainly surpasses the next longest, the 4.7km Sodra Lanken in Stockholm, 4.5km Dublin Port Tunnel and 3.2km Lefortovo Tunnel in Moscow.
Blanka completes the lion’s share of the Prague inner city ring road, designed to bypass the historic city centre, which should be finished in its entirety by 2020.
A pet project of Mount Everest-climbing, controversial former mayor Pavel Bem, the Blanka Tunnel project started in 2007 and has been beset with every problem since including three major leaks, massive time and cost overruns – especially of Trojan Bridge – unauthorised construction, uncovered archaeology, undermined buildings, invalid contracts, and a police investigation into the finances.
Last week the final dispute between the city council and construction company Metrostav was settled in arbitration.
Building is reportedly now finished with just final safety checks remaining. Trials should start 2 December ahead of a full public opening in April 2015.
CROSSING THE CHANNEL. Freight customers face fare hikes when new low-sulphur fuel regulations come in on 1 January – by 15% Stena has said – but it hasn’t been clear what will happen to regular passenger tickets. Now Lloyd’s Loading List says operators will levy fuel surcharges as, for example, the more expensive clean fuel increases P&O’s costs by £30m each year. How much fares will rise by is still not clear however. More announcements are expected as the deadline looms says LLL. Meanwhile, Denmark says it will take a zero-tolerance approach to the new rules. BELGIUM’s ‘speed blitz’ on Friday 10 October is in doubt. Like in neighbouring Germany last month, the plan had been to put all hands on deck for 24 hours in a crackdown on speeding drivers but the on-going dispute about police pensions and retirement age means many officers will boycott the event says FlandersNews.be. This week is already a ‘fine-free week’ with police reportedly issuing just warnings for low-level traffic offences.
An unbelievably lucky escape for spectators at this weekend’s Jolly Rally Valle d’Aosta, nw Italy: