More unexpectedly light traffic in France for the ‘great return’, even as an angry mob blocks the major A1 Paris-Lille.
Also, Fiat debuts a go-anywhere campervan concept using already-available all-drive hardware.
‘ANGRY GYPSIES’ BLOCK A1 PARIS-LILLE
But major delays on otherwise quiet ‘great return’ day.
A mob of what was described as ‘angry gypsies’ blocked the A1 between Paris and Lille in both directions last night (Friday).
Trees were felled across access roads and tyres and pallets burned right across the carriageway south of the A29 Amiens-Saint Quentin motorway.
Drivers were stranded for several hours as diversion routes quickly became jammed.
The blockades were lifted late this morning (Saturday) but repairs to the carriageway meant the road only reopened in stages, starting southbound, from mid-afternoon.
Full circulation was finally restored at 20:00 local time since when the road has operated normally.
The protest comes in the wake of a tragic shooting incident at the traveller camp in Roye on Tuesday.
A baby, a policeman and two others were killed.
Demonstrators want the son of one of the victims released from prison to attend the funeral, planned for Monday (31 August).
Drivers had been warned to expect more trouble in the area until then but a court in Amiens granted the protestor’s request this afternoon.
Meanwhile, even the substantial jams around the A1 failed to lift what had been billed as the ‘great return’, beyond the distinctly average.
The last weekend before the schools go back had been expected to see very busy roads but in the event combined queues totalled 470km at midday today, less even than the 550km recorded on Friday afternoon.
With the roads noticeably busy from Thursday onwards, it seems – as on so many other heavily hyped summer Saturdays this year especially – drivers took notice of warnings and changed their travel plans.