Mont Blanc Tunnel, Situation Normal…

Four years after the fire that killed 39 people the final restriction on trucks in the Mont Blanc tunnel was lifted today, at 14h00.  After the accident the tunnel was extensively modernised but is still a narrow, 1960s design, judged inherently unsafe for today’s traffic by many.

Ecologists believe it is only a matter of time before another serious accident.  The mayor of Chamonix is amongst 14 other people facing charges for his handling of the disaster.

Heavy goods traffic was light over the weekend as only trucks with special permissions are allowed on the road at weekends in France.  The governments of both France and Italy were keen to re-establish the balance between Chamonix and the Frejus tunnel to the south, currently 90% of trucks use the Frejus tunnel, a situation judged intolerable by residents of the Maurienne valley. But the reestablishment of two way traffic is a failure for ecologist, especially as the French government seems set to abandon promises of train transport for trucks in the alps.  Ecologists and residents plan to stage a protest on Monday.

Posted by davidof on Monday, 03 March, 2003 at 03:21 PM

The Mont Blanc tunnel trial is due to start on the 31st of January, 2005 and hopefully last not more than 3 months. The trial will be held in the festival hall at Bonneville in the Haute-Savoie. 200 civil parties are expected to be represented.

Translations will be available in Italian and Swedish and the state prosecutor is also studying weather to translate into English given the international interest in the trial. 50 experts and 55 lawyers will be present for the proceedings. The hall can accomodate up to 600 people.

The prosecutor was present during the Pic du Bure cable car trial at Gap in 2003 in order to gain experience in conducting such a large and public process.

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 05 May, 2004  at 05:43 PM

The famlilies of victims have launched a website (in French) giving information on the Mont Blanc tunnel disaster:

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 02 March, 2005  at 08:50 PM

Bonneville court delived a verdict on the Mont Blanc tunnel disaster on the 27th of July 2005.

The court gave out suspended prison sentences and fines for 10 of the accused and handed out a 6 month prison term for the head of security Gerard Roncoli with a further 24 months suspended.

Michel Charlet, mayor of nearby Chamonix received a six-month suspended term and a fine. M. Charlet has previously received a suspended sentence for his part in the Montroc avalanche disaster.

The famlilies of victims broadly welcomed the verdicts.

Posted by davidof on  Sunday, 21 August, 2005  at 10:02 PM

Seven years after the disaster a compensation claim has been signed with the families of victims of the Mont-Blanc tunnel fire. The 238 plaintifs share compensation totaling 27 million euros. The money will be paid by two companies that run the tunnel, the French Autoroute et tunnel du Mont-Blanc (ATMB) and the Italian SITMB, their insurance companies and the insurer of the truck that started the fire. The companies along with Volvo manufactured the truck had originally refused the claim apart from the SITMB who paid 13.5 million euros last year. 

Posted by davidof on  Tuesday, 28 March, 2006  at 07:56 PM

The Mont-Blanc Tunnel Fire appeal will open on the 19th of February at Chambéry court and is scheduled to last 3 weeks. Gérard Roncoli, head of security on the French side of the tunnel and Miche Charlet, mayor of Chamonix are appealing the verdict of manslaughter. Roncoli was sentenced to 6 months in prison suspended for 30 months and Charlet to a 6 month suspended sentence with a 1500 euro fine. M. Charlet is basing his appeal on the fact that he had no direct involvement in the running of the tunnel however he was head of the fire service. 39 people were killed by the fire including a member of the fire brigade.

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 04 October, 2006  at 11:02 AM
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