One of the world's largest road tunnels, linking France and Italy through the Alps, has been officially opened to traffic.
GV Tunnel area in Modane, France
GV Entrance to tunnel
GV Customs point at entrance to tunnel
GV Officials arriving for opening ceremony
GV Sign declaring opening of tunnel with bus driving through paper sign
GV Procession marches through tunnel headed by bands and followed by drum majorities (3 shots)
LIBRARY FILM: Town of Modane, May 16970
GV French Prime Minister Raymond barre and party arriving and being g greeted (3 shots)
GV Entrance to tunnel draped in flags
GV Inside tunnel: Italian Prime Minister Guilio Underate shaking hands with officials-- the two Prime Ministers shaking hands with officials--the two Prime Ministers shaking hands and walking in tunnel (3 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: One of the world's largest road tunnels, linking France and Italy through the Alps, has been officially opened to traffic. Its opening on Saturday (5 July) links the Italian town of Bardonecchia with the French Alpine town of Modane.
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony at Modane was an historic occasion -- road traffic will now be able to travel from Lyons to Turin in less than four hours at any time of the year. The Frejus tunnel, an Italian-French project, is 12,800 metres (about eight miles) long and has taken four and a half years to complete. the total cost involved is about 350 million dollars.
Travelling through the Alps will now become a less tiring haul, not only for long distance truck drivers, but for all holidaymakers -- whether skiers or tourists. And it gives a unique opportunity -- and the time-to enjoy a long weekend in France or Italy.
Saturday's ceremony was not the first. A year ago, in May 1979, the French Prime Minister, m. Raymond Barre, and his Italian counterpart, then Mr. Giulio Andreotti, met and shook hand son the national boundary inside the tunnel. It marked the official end of work on a vast feat of engineering. A month earlier, workmen from France and Italy had already broken through to greet each other and to celebrate the completion of years of work through the mountains. the Frejus tunnel, which bypasses the existing route over the Alps, is expected to carry a million vehicles in its first year.