The Mont Blanc Tunnel : Ten years after the fire, what has changed?


Since the reopening of the tunnel in 2002, in less than two minutes, rescue workers can be in place to combat any fires. The 1999 fire, with it’s 39 deaths, created a rupture in the vision of the fluidity of circulation in the tunnel. Since the fire, the tunnel has gone under major surgery. An intricate tube system has been put in place to quickly evacuate smoke as well as a more efficient method to evacute passengers and raise the tunnel alarm. All of this at a cost of 400 million euros.

The speed limit and distance allowed between vehicles has also been changed. The speed limit is now strictly set at 70km/h and a distance of 150m between cars is mandatory. Despite all of the efforts made to improve the tunnel and it’s safety, a tunnel is a peculiar thing and the risk will never be zero.

In 1999, 39 people of nine nationalities lost their lives. Mr. Denis (mentioned above) lost his wife, daughter and son-in-law in this accident. Ten years after this horrible accident, there is more work to be done. Mr. Denis' son, Pierre, will be taking over the presidency of the victims association and will be continuing the fight to make France's tunnels safe.


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