The snow and the ice caused from the end of the afternoon the cut-off of the A40 motorway in both directions of traffic at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine (Haute-Savoie).
The prefecture of Isère warned Tuesday against a “significant risk of avalanches” on the various massifs of the department, level 4 on a scale of 5, before an expected increase in the middle of the week due to intense falls of snow.
Snow and ice also caused from the end of the afternoon the cut-off of the A40 motorway in both directions of traffic at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine (Haute-Savoie). Heavy goods vehicles are prohibited on this highway and the prefecture advises users against taking this route due to snow and ice.
The operations “will take part of the night”
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According to the director of Autoroutes et Tunnels du Mont-Blanc (ATMB) interviewed on our antenna, 1,000 motorists were blocked on this axis at the end of the evening, in both directions of traffic, against 2,500 motorists in the early evening, according to Catherine de la Robertie, prefect of the department of Ain on BFMTV.
“We are gradually unblocking the situation but the operations are long (…) and the clearance maneuvers will take part of the night”, indicated the prefere at the microphone of BFMTV. She specifies that a gymnasium has been made available in Bellegarde for motorists who could not resume the road, and that those stranded in their vehicles would be gradually supplied by the Red Cross.
“The maneuvers consist in clearing the heavy goods vehicles blocked on the motorway, but I would remind you that on the Aindinois side we are on a viaduct so it’s extremely complicated, then to allow motorists to turn around to reach either Lyon or Geneva “, she again explained to our microphone.
According to our information, around thirty gendarmes and firefighters are mobilized on site to help stuck motorists, park heavy goods vehicles and set up diversions upstream.
An unstable snowpack in the mountains
In Isère, the prefecture invites in a press release those who practice “hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and any other mountain activity” to be “very careful” on the Chartreuse, Vercors, Belledonne and Les Massifs. Grandes-Rousses, where the avalanche risks will be “strong”.
“The practice of these activities outside the marked slopes is very strongly discouraged”, she adds, specifying that “Thursday and Friday, the risk of avalanches will increase further”.
For its part, the prefecture of Haute-Savoie has warned against a risk of the start of flows “high for all the massifs of the department”.
“The snowpack is very unstable and many avalanches of friable slabs are likely to be triggered,” she said in a statement.
The department has been placed on orange “snow and ice” vigilance because of “an intense winter episode” which should last Wednesday according to Météo France.
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