Road tunnel safety back in the spotlight

Lethal crash in key Swiss-Italian transit tunnel raises more questions about road freight transport

At least nine people are dead after two lorries collided in the main Alpine road tunnel linking Switzerland and Italy. Fire broke out during the pile-up, which involved multiple vehicles. The accident is the worst ever in a Swiss road tunnel and comes as the French government is pushing to reopen the Mont Blanc road tunnel following an accident there in 1999 that killed 39 (EED 03/10/01).

Today's incident took place about 1km from the southern entrance of the Gothard tunnel, which at 17km is the second longest in the world. The safety of Gothard and about 100 other Swiss road and rail tunnels was reviewed by the government in the wake of the Mont Blanc disaster. Press reports suggest that traffic levels have risen in Gothard since the Mont Blanc tunnel's closure.

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