When work first began on the Mont Blanc road tunnel in October last year, the French effort at Chamonix was well behind the Italian team, drilling from Entreves.
GV.PAN Mont Blanc to workings
LV. Entrance to tunnel
ANGLE SHOT Drilling equipment
CV. Workman at controls
CV. Wheels move on track
LV. Drilling equipment moves slowly
LV. Entering tunnel
CM. Motors driving drill
LV. Pipes along tunnel
LV. Drilling equipment in tunnel
SV. Workman up stairway
SCV. Workman up controls
CM. Drill boring into rock
SV. DITTO and workman stands by
CM. Workman's face
CM. Drill boring rock
SBV. DITTO and workman
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: When work first began on the Mont Blanc road tunnel in October last year, the French effort at Chamonix was well behind the Italian team, drilling from Entreves.
Recent progress shows, however, that French miners are rapidly gaining lost ground on the project to link Italy with France.
As high-powered explosives blast away the rock, new machinery is brought in. Latest mechanical addition: 'Jumbo' - a moveable steel platform from which miners drill deep into the rock face with pneumatic drills. Built in four stages, 'Jumbo' allows more men to penetrate one section at a time, and is playing a big part in boosting progress.
By 1962, engineers hope the tunnel through Europe's highest mountain, will be completed. Running for just over seven miles from nest Chamonix on the French side, to the little Italian village of Entreves, the mont Blanc project will be the longest road tunnel in the world. Some four miles will be driven from the Italian end and three from France. Work goes on 24 hours a day in three-hour shifts, and when the two teams meet, 8,200 feet of ice-capped granite will loom overhead.
When completed, the London-Paris-Rome journey can be undertaken in a straight line, and the Rome-Paris car journey out by 20 percent. Some 400 vehicles an hour will travel through the tunnel in each direction. At intervals, there will be parking bays, shelters with telephones, and side turning to permit reversing.
The tunnel is guaranteed to improve communications between northern Europe and the Mediterranean. But more important, it will be the only road across the Alps open all the year round. Present roads are snowbound for about half the year.