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#Swisshistorypics Swiss mark road tunnel anniversary

Switzerland inaugurated the first Alpine road tunnel entirely within its own borders 50 years ago on December 1. 

Already known in Roman times, the San Bernardino is one of the oldest passes in the Alps and has been an important European junction. 

Drilling began in 1962, and progressed slowly - an average of 115 metres per month were excavated on the south side and 95 metres a month on the north. After three years, the breakthrough came on April 10, 1965.

The official inauguration - two years later - took place in the presence of representatives from five European countries: Austria, Italy, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. 

The then Swiss home affairs minister, Hans-Peter Tschudi, told Swiss public television, RSI, that the 6.6km tunnel was a testament to the country's pioneering role in the construction of road and rail infrastructure across the Alps.

"Geography and history gave Switzerland the task of opening up and securing the Alpine passes and thus entrusted it with an essential role as a mediator between north and south. With the new functional San Bernardino tunnel, we reconfirm this European mission of ours. "

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