The ceiling of a road tunnel in the Swiss Alps collapsed on Saturday evening. The structure was carved out of rock, and its weakening was most likely related to the sudden thaw in recent days. According to road workers, repairing the damage may take years.
On Saturday, part of the roof of a road tunnel collapsed near the town of Iserables in the Swiss canton of Valais. About ten cubic meters of rock debris fell on the road leading to the popular ski resort of La Tzoumaz. No one was injured.
Costly and long reconstruction
According to local media, the tunnel to La Tzoumaz was carved directly into the rock, without any concrete elements. Vincent Pellissier, head of the road services of the canton of Valais, said the collapse was probably caused by the thaw that hit the region at the end of January after stormy weather in December. The official added that the tunnel, which is over 50 years old, was dug “in a slope with a complex geological structure.”
– The infrastructure is aging and the mountain keeps moving, Pellissier explained in an interview with broadcaster RTS on Monday. – It cannot be stated that all tunnels built in this type of rock at that time are dangerous.
The first inspection shows that the damage is serious. The tunnel will remain closed for a long time – Pelissier estimated that repairs will take months, perhaps even years. In addition, rebuilding the tunnel may cost several hundred thousand or even millions of Swiss francs.
The regional authorities have marked a detour through Iserables, but only passenger cars can use it. Public transport will also be introduced in the area – tourists will be able to get to La Tzoumaz by mountain railway and bus. Officials assured that despite the difficulties, the resort will be able to accommodate a large number of tourists.
RTS, swissinfo.ch, tvnmeteo.pl
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/VALENTIN FLAURAUD