Wind could knock out Channel link
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THE PROPOSED Euroroute road/rail combined Channel bridge and tunnel could be closed to high-sided vehicles for six days a year, the project's chief executive admitted last kveck.
Euroroute chief executive Robin Biggam was one of the speakers at a Road Haulage Association debate on the fixed link across the Channel and told hauliers of sonic of the assumptions it used for the complete f'.4.75 billion project.
The crossing, which the Tratlilgar House-led AngloFrench consortium plans to have open to road traffic by 1993, has been subject to wind tests. These establish what protection will be needed, for the suspension bridge stretches from the British and French coasts out to artificial islands at each end of the tunnel section.
Wind deflectors will be erected to protect vehicles from the prevailing westerly wind, but Biggam admitted that it could be out of bounds for high-sided vehicles on six days of the year.
This prompted Peter Jackson, his opposite number at Flexilink, the Dover Harbour Board-led anti-fixed link pressure group, to warn that
ferry capacity would no longer exist to cater for traffic suddenly deprived of a fixed link.
'If Euroroute is out of action because of weather or sabotage, there is no chance of alternative routes being there,he said.
Jackson insisted that the development of larger and faster ferries will absorb additional cross-Channel traffic more cost-effectively than a Fixed link, and said that any fixed link would become a subsidised form of competition for ferries.
That would put peripheral ferry crossings at most risk of closure.
Biggam said that Euroroute would set the charges slightly below those for existing ferries, taking account of hauliers need to use 25 miles' worth of dery on the road crossing.
Fle insisted that the rail tunnel, to be built at a cost of 1:1.25 billion and to open after the road link is ready, would be offered to British Rail and SNC17 (its French counterpart) on a strictly commercial basis. -The railways will get their facilities on a commercial basis, so won't be able to undercut hauliers,said Biggam.