Day-long Delays in the French Alps, Again

Drivers just cannot get a break in the French Alps this winter though this time it was nothing to do with the weather.

Also, floods threaten roads in northern Spain. Eurotunnel and Dover-Calais ferry fares are the closest for years says the Telegraph. Hauliers and the Spanish government are at odds over plans to force trucks onto toll roads. Dutch police deploy Moscow-style parking cars.

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DAY LONG DELAYS IN THE FRENCH ALPS, AGAIN

Boulder blocks traffic to Belleville with the backlog jamming roads to other resorts too.

Photo via val-thorens.co.uk

The boulder on RD117. Photo via val-thorens.co.uk

The timing could hardly have been worse. Less than 24 hours before one of the busiest changeover days of the season, a one hundred ton boulder toppled onto the main RD117 road in and out of the Belleville Valley in the French Alps.

Access to the popular resorts of Val Thorens and Les Menuires was blocked in both directions from Friday morning.

For the second successive Saturday then – and for the third time this winter – drivers heading into the Alps faced day long delays albeit nothing to do with the weather this time.

Worse still, and despite being warned to postpone their journeys for an extra day, the hundreds of cars heading to Bellville were forced to queue on the N90 from Albertville, blocking other drivers attempting to reach nearby resorts such as Courcheval and Val d’Isere, among others.

A detour road, RD96 bypassed the boulder but traffic heading down the mountain was prioritised, for Saturday morning initially and then all day.

Ultimately it was a case of under-promising and over-delivering. A surprise announcement from local police at 17:30 said in fact RD117 has been successfully cleared and was open in both directions. However, it took several hours from then to clear the remaining queues on N90.

Alps’ police are unlikely to look back on this season fondly.

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The huge snow dump in the Pyrenees in the week turned into massive flooding in parts of north east Spain this weekend. The River Ebro has burst its banks in places and it threatening the same in the city of Zaragoza particularly. The major road network has escaped unscathed so far. See the latest at DGT.es. Photo @InfoEmerg

The huge snow dump in the Pyrenees earlier in the week has turned into massive flooding in parts of north east Spain this weekend. The River Ebro has burst its banks in places and is threatening the same in Zaragoza. The major road network has escaped unscathed so far. See the latest at DGT.es. Photo, the A-68 at Tudela, Bilbao-Zaragoza, yesterday via @InfoEmerg

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roundup: CROSSING THE CHANNEL. A good roundup of all UK-France/Spain crossings from the Telegraph’s Nick Trend. He says price rises on the Dover-Calais route due to new EU clean fuel rules, and a five percent price cut on Eurotunnel fares this year, mean ‘the lowest differential between tunnel and sea crossings for many years’. SPAIN. Hauliers and government are arguing about whether the new plan to offer trucks fifty percent discounts on motorway tolls to get them to divert from main roads should be voluntary or compulsory says InfoTransport.es. The plan does not apply to the entire motorway network, just those stretches where main road and motorway shadow each other. Trucks would still be allowed to use lesser roads direct to the point or origin or destination. The plan is due to start in the second quarter of this year. NETHERLANDS. Dutch police are experimenting with Moscow-style camera cars to more efficiently monitor parking in the tourist hotspot of Delft near Rotterdam reports AutomNews.com. Despite cross-border prosecution for traffic offences not starting until May 2017 for UK, Irish and Danish drivers, parking fines are already able to be collected within the EU under separate legislation.

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