The French government will help out with repairs to the vital Alp’s Grenoble-Briancon road though no reopening date has been announced.
Also, DFDS confirms Dover-Calais services suspended after a flares fired in Calais over the weekend as strike talks in Paris called ‘positive’. More reports of violence and intimidation against truck drivers emerge during the France farmer blockades, as evidence mounts that hauliers are avoiding Calais over the migrant crisis, strike and Operation Stack. More than five hundred drivers fined over new French earpiece rules.
STATE HELP FOR GRENOBLE-BRIANCON ROAD
PM promises govt money for repairs but no timetable announced.
The government will help to rebuild the vital trans-Alp D1091 Grenoble-Briancon road but a timetable for repairs is still to be announced.
The road closed at Lake Chambon in April after a landslide. Repairs have been held up by the threat of further landslips.
On a visit to the site on Friday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, ‘The State stands alongside residents ready to provide a solution. National solidarity plays, and will play, its part.’
The work is estimated to cost up to €15m. Alternative plans include a new road around the southern shore of the lake.
This video from the Interior Ministry – in French – gives a good overview of the scale of the problem.
A temporary ferry service for residents was suspended earlier this month amid fears a further 800,000 cubic meters of rock could fall into the lake.
A rock fall of that size could breach the dam on the west shore though that possibility is now downplayed.
However, around a quarter of the overhanging rock did slide down the mountain last night according to reports with geologists eyeing the remainder very keenly.
In the meantime, the detours add at least another 70km to the 110km drive between Grenoble and Briancon.
The shortest by 10km, and cheapest, is the N85/N94 via Gap.
Meanwhile, the total toll for the A41-A43 via Modane into Italy – and back across the Col de Montgenevre (1850m) – comes to €59.10 including the Frejus Tunnel (the 2083m Col de Mont Cenis saves the €43.50 tunnel toll).
Most thrilling is the Col de Glandon route off RD1091, then the Col de Galibier back to Briancon from Saint Michel de Maurienne along the A43. The passes top 1924m and 2645m respectively. See them on PassFinder.
Also: 507 drivers have been fined €135 for wearing earpieces at the wheel since it was made illegal in France at the beginning of July says Securite Routiere. Drivers can still use phones via hands-free Bluetooth connections. The earpiece ban is one of a number of new rules introduced this month, including eating or applying makeup while driving. See more.
roundup: CHANNEL. DFDS has confirmed it suspended its services between Calais and Dover yesterday after its Malo Seaways was hit by a distress flare apparently fired by striking SCOP sailors in Calais overnight Saturday-Sunday according to AFP. All passengers are being transferred to the operator’s Dover-Dunkirk service until at least tomorrow (Tuesday). La Voix du Nord says the flares were intended to be ‘non offensive’. Roundtable talks are reportedly due to be held in Paris this afternoon between all the players in the on-going Calais strike. It’s not clear yet what impact the incident at the weekend will have on the negotiations. Update: a statement from the French Minister of Transport this afternoon says DFDS services will resume tomorrow (Tuesday). A further roundtable meeting is planned for Thursday after all the parties have considered proposals made today. DFDS later called the talks ‘positive’. FRANCE STRIKES. On top of allegations from the IRU and Spanish hauliers that French police stood and watched as French farmers trashed loads and threatened drivers – and worse – the Daily Mail reports how a convoy of seven Scottish trucks were stopped in Brittany last week and had diesel poured over their combined 140 tonne load of fish. At the same time, Luke Vernon from Virginia International said on twitter, ‘One of our drivers was threatened with having his throat cut by these criminals.’ Meanwhile, another haulier is to withdraw from Dover-Calais. Adam Robinson, owner of A J Road Haulage which makes 70-100 crossings each week, told us over twitter, ‘I have got to the point of refusing any French loads and from September will not use Dover-Calais anymore. My drivers and load safety comes first.’ His comments come a few days after Kevin Hopper, managing director of Brian Yeardley Continental, said, ‘Steps taken, shipping routes and plans in place, Operation Stack you are a thing of the past. Shipping Dover-Calais no ta!’