Mountain fans can look forward to some early action this year – the first super high roads start to open next week.
Also, Green politicians in Paris denounce upcoming Formula E electric car race as ‘ecological disaster’. Higher speed limit for caravans and trailers in Denmark this summer. Foreign vehicles banned from Gibraltar’s Upper Rock.
FIRST SUPER HIGH MOUNTAIN ROADS OPEN NEXT WEEK
Swizterland’s Splugen kicks off the summer season on Tuesday.
After very short winter locks, in some cases, the highest mountain roads are nearly ready for the summer.
Next Tuesday (19 April), Splugen Pass 2188m in southern Switzerland – which marks the division between the Western and Eastern Alps – is the first to lift the barriers.
That’s almost a month earlier than usual.
Similarly, Oberalppass 2048m – one of the Gotthard passes, east from Andermatt – throws off its winter lock on Tuesday 26 April, a fortnight earlier than usual.
The Stelvio-Davos Flüelapass 2383m which – remember – closed unusually late this year, in early January, should be ready on Sunday 1 May.
It is followed in short order by Austria’s Grossglockner 2503m, Maltatal Hochalmstraße 1930m, Nockalmstraße 2012m and Hahntennjoch 1884m.
More to its regular schedule is Klausenpass 1952m, the fearsome boy racer road to the east of Altdorf, north of Gotthard, which is driveable from Friday 20 May, as should be Gotthard Pass itself.
James Bond’s Furka Pass opens on Monday 6 June and then Sustenpass 2224m on Friday 10 June.
There’s no word yet on Nufenen 2478m, the southern border of the six ‘Das Loop’ roads around Gotthard, but that is normally ready in mid-June.
Meanwhile, Timmelsjoch 2474m between Austria and Italy and Gavia 2621m are on course for early to mid-June.
Obviously there are no guarantees with high mountain roads, especially with the regular sprinklings of snow still falling in the Alps.
Also see ‘Surprisingly high roads which stay open all year’ and PassFinder. Sources @TdS Tour de Suisse and ADAC.
roundup: DENMARK. After the stunning success on road safety last year – fatalities cut by 8 percent to 30 per million inhabitants, just behind the UK – drivers with trailers, including caravans, will see their maximum speed limit raised to 100kmh on 1 July. Parliament adopted the ‘Tempo 100’ bill yesterday, raising the limit from its current 80kmh according to a release from the Department for Transport. ‘We’re raising the speed limit for cars with trailers in an intelligent way without compromising road safety,’ said Transport Minister Christian Schmidt. The new limit does depend on certain non-specified ‘technical requirements’ though the new regulation apparently brings Denmark into line with neighbouring Germany. Also see Copenhagen Post. GIBRALTAR. Foreign-registered vehicles have been banned from the Upper Rock Nature Reserve as of last Monday. The Gibraltar Social Democrats party calls the ban ‘unexpected, unannounced and surreptitiously introduced’ according to MyGibraltarTV, and wants to know if the impact on tourism has been assessed, and increased congestion in the town. Taxis and coaches still have access. The Rock rises more than 450m. The road has a reputation for being narrow and difficult to drive but the truly off-putting factor is the road toll: £20 per car. Update 14 April: foreign vehicles are indeed banned from the Upper Rock, GBC News confirmed today. The move is part of the government’s ‘sustainable tourism strategy’ to reduce congestion during the summer, allow easier access for emergency vehicles and cut air pollution in the nature reserve. Apparently the ban may be reconsidered after the summer.