Frejus tunnel 'closed for months'

7th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

ROME, June 7 (AFP) - The Frejus tunnel linking France and Italy through the Alps will likely remain closed for two to three months following a massive blaze at the weekend that killed two Slovenian truck drivers, Italy's transport minister said Tuesday.

ROME, June 7 (AFP) - The Frejus tunnel linking France and Italy through the Alps will likely remain closed for two to three months following a massive blaze at the weekend that killed two Slovenian truck drivers, Italy's transport minister said Tuesday.  

"I think it is possible that the tunnel will reopen to traffic in two or three months," Transport Minister Pietro Lunardi told a news conference in Rome.  

He said a commission had been established to help redirect the roughly 4,000 trucks which usually use the tunnel daily to other routes, including the Mont Blanc tunnel.  

But Lunardi said the restrictions put in place following a 1999 fire that killed 39 should be respected, although this limits truck crossings to some 1,300 per day.  

On Saturday, a truck transporting tires from France caught fire about halfway through the 13-kilometre (eight-mile) Frejus tunnel linking Modane on the French side with the Italian town of Bardonecchia.  

The blaze spread rapidly, engulfing several vehicles and killing the two Slovenian drivers, identified as 23-year-old Doliban Vukanovic and 24-year-old Pavol Blanarovik.   Several others suffered from smoke inhalation, but were not seriously hurt.  

Fire-fighters needed six hours to bring the flames under control.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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