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Lorries face new tunnel restrictions in Alps

SWITZERLAND THIS week imposed tough restrictions on lorries travel - ling through the Alps following the blaze which swept through the St Gotthard tunnel last month.

Lorries diverting from St Gotthard to the 6km, two-lane San Bernardino tunnel are only allowed to travel in one direction at a time to reduce the risk of head on collisions.

Eleven people died last month when two lorries collided head on, causing an intense fire in the St Gotthard tunnel ( News last week).

Directional flow for trucks in the San Bernardino tunnel is now being alternated every 30 minutes. Two trucks collided head on in this tunnel last week, although there was no fire.

Police are also forcing lorries travelling over mountain passes in the Swiss Alps to travel at least 150m apart to ease extra traffic congestion resulting from the closure of the fire damaged St Gotthard tunnel.

A spokesman for the Swiss Federal Roads Authority said it would be 10 years before a second St Gotthard tunnel would be built to separate north bound traffic from south bound vehicles.

Last week, the authority reversed its opposition to building a second bore.

The driver of the lorry which caused last month's St Gotthard crash and fire was Turkish, had no driving licence and had leased the vehicle from a Belgian company.

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