Trouble at both ends

Published: Saturday 15 June 2002

There seems to be no light at either end of this tunnel, what with a chain of protests being sparked off recently. First Italy filed a complaint against France with the European Commission for its refusal to open the Mont Blanc tunnel to heavy vehicles. Consequently, France allowed trucks with up to four axles to use the key trade link from May 13, 2002. After this, French demonstrators blocked the entrance to the 11.6-kilometre tunnel to Italy in protest against the resumption of heavy freight traffic. Banned since a fatal fire in 1999, the tunnel was reopened to cars in March this year and to trucks under 19 tonnes in April. Greens have opposed the reopening of the tunnel, saying exhaust fumes from trucks pollute the beautiful Alpine region. Local residents have also opposed heavy freight to use the link. The tunnel is to open to all trucks by June 25.

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