A loan of €120 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) has been agreed for the Fréjus tunnel between France and Italy.

The EIB said it was key funding for the road network across Europe, in terms of both performance and safety. The loan will allow the construction of a second safety lane parallel to the existing road connecting Piedmont to Savoy. This will allow each tunnel to have one-way traffic in a single lane, the second being used as an emergency stopping lane.

The whole site will be equipped with safety systems that comply with the new European standards for 2014 – the two tunnels are 50m apart and connected by 34 security shelters of 100m2, and five bypasses will be created for emergency vehicles to respond from the safety lane.

The Fréjus tunnel is part of the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T) which aims to develop a European network of efficient and sustainable infrastructure. The development of this network is a priority for the EIB and it dedicated just over €6 billion within the European Union in 2012.

The finance contract was signed on 8 April by Philippe de Fontaine Vive, vice-president of the EIB, and Christophe Saintillan, president of the Caisse Nationale des Autoroutes, the public administrative agency acting on behalf of France’s motorway concession holders.

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