The Mont Blanc Tunnel links Chamonix (France) to Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley (Italy). Opened in 1965 mainly for tourism and regional trade purposes there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the use of the tunnel by international Heavy Goods Vehicles - particularly after a disaster in 1999 in which 39 victims died in a fire which was started by a truck.
You can read more about the Mont Blanc Tunnel fire in the History of Chamonix.
Some Tunnel statistics:
- Length: The tunnel is 11.6kms
- Width: 8.6 metres
- Journey Time: 17 minutes
- Altitude: 1274m on French side, 1381m on Italian side, with maximum height of 1395.5 halfway through the tunnel. At the midpoint, the rock above the tunnel is nearly 3kms thick!
- Border: The actual border between France and Italy is 7.6km into the tunnel from the French side
- Traffic Levels: In 2007, the average number of vehicles using the tunnel each day was measured at 4860 – 3201 light vehicles, 1616 HGVs and 42 coaches
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