A landslide has wreaked havoc on transport in the east of France with trains to and from Italy impacted and roads in the area shut.
A 700 m³ rockfall happened on Sunday evening (August 27) when boulders rolled downhill into a stretch of the RD 1006 road in the Savoie department.
The boulders crashed into a protective barrier on the side of the road put in place by departmental authorities – the area is “closely monitored” for landslide activities, according to the Savoie prefecture.
The road has been closed.
The landslide also closed the A43 road close to La Praz in both directions as well as interrupting train service between France and Italy for “an indefinite amount of time,” according to the prefecture.
The SNCF said some trains between the two countries could be rerouted, but no announcements have been made yet.
Thankfully, nobody was injured during the incident.
Last week, landslides in the Alps mountains were caused by the heatwave, which saw departments in the area facing tier-three and four warnings.
Huge plumes of dust caused by boulders
The landslide happened at around 17:00 near the village of Saint-André in the Savoie department.
A nearby resident managed to catch a video of the landslide, which caused plumes of dust to rise, completely covering the nearby roads and severely limiting the vision of drivers.
Drivers looking to use both the RD1006 and A43 (between junction 29 and 30) in both directions close to the site will need to seek alternate routes, with the roads closed for an indefinite amount of time.
“A detour is currently being set up via the RD 215a through the main town of Saint-André for light vehicles only,” announced the Savoie prefecture.
The Fréjus tunnel between the two countries is also closed to vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes and drivers are instead being instructed to take the Mont Blanc tunnel or A8 motorway.
Major disruption to train travel
A key rail corridor between France and Italy that runs parallel to the A43 has also been disrupted.
All TGV and TrenItalia services running on the line have been cancelled until at least Wednesday (August 30), and TER trains running to Modane will instead stop at Saint-Michel-Valloire.
"[The SNCF] is managing the incident and requesting that trains be re-routed to their original stations,” said the Savoie prefecture, although no information about the rerouting has been announced yet.
The SNCF said they would release more information about this later on Monday.
In a post to X (formerly Twitter), Transport Minister Clément Beaune said a return to normal on the route would take several days.
Après l'éboulement massif intervenu hier en #Maurienne, nos services publics sont mobilisés pour rétablir au plus vite la circulation routière et ferroviaire. Priorité absolue à la sécurité de tous ; un retour à la normale nécessitera plusieurs jours. pic.twitter.com/vcVPjzzUf3— Clement Beaune (@CBeaune) August 27, 2023