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Study finds Swiss tunnels to be safe

A study out Friday found that none of Switzerland's road tunnels have to be shut down. The study was commissioned by the Swiss Transport Ministry in the wake of deadly fires in tunnels in neighbouring France and Austria.

This content was published on July 9, 1999 - 15:23

A study out Friday found that none of Switzerland's road tunnels have to be shut down. The study was commissioned by the Swiss Transport Ministry in the wake of deadly fires in tunnels in neighbouring France and Austria.

"Our country's highway tunnels show no failings of a seriousness which would make it necessary to order immediate closures," said the Transport Ministry.

The study was released one month ahead of a detailed report carried out by the cantons. It also comes a day after the Alpine Initiative interest group put forward various proposals to increase the safety of road tunnels.

The Alpine Initiative said building a second Gotthard tunnel linking northern and southern Switzerland would only increase the risk of accidents. The group advocates a shift from road to rail transport, and suggests as a short term measure that speed limits within tunnels be reduced and the distance between travelling vehicles be increased.
Some of the main routes linking northern and southern Europe cross the Swiss Alps. A fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel linking France and Italy killed at least 39 people in March and 12 people died when a fire broke out in the Austrian Tauern tunnel in May.


From staff with wire reports

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