Hauliers Threaten to Block Key Border Tunnel

11. 08. 2011

Hauliers Threaten to Block Key Border Tunnel

Slovenian and Austrian representatives met at the Transport Ministry headquarters in Ljubljana to resume talks to find a compromise satisfactory for Slovenian hauliers who demand that Austria lift a unilaterally-imposed ban for lorries through the Karavanke border tunnel on Saturdays during the summer.


The ministry told the STA that Transport Minister Patrick Vlacic had already spoken to Prime Minister Borut Pahor about the issue this morning.


While a protest blockade of the tunnel planned for previous Saturday was cancelled upon a compromise for that day with the Austrian police and motorway company Asfinag, the Slovenian hauliers are determined to close down the tunnel the coming Saturday unless an agreement is reached by the end of the week.


The head of the transport section of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), Andrej Klobasa, expressed certainty for commercial broadcaster POP TV Sunday evening that another blockade would not be necessary, as Vlacic and Pahor would call Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.


If not, Klobasa will call the chancellor himself "telling him that it is enough of fooling around, otherwise we will really close the tunnel for everyone."




Austria imposed the first ban on 30 July, when some 150 Slovenian lorries were stranded on the other side of the border until the evening. Austria said safety concerns were the motive to close the tunnel for lorries during the peak of the summer tourist season on Saturdays.


The ban restricts lorries heavier than 7.5 tonnes from the tunnel between Friday 10 PM and Saturday 3 PM, leaving them with the only other option - a detour over the Sentilj/Spielfeld crossing in the northeast.


But this ban only prolongs the lorries' immobility over weekends, as Slovenia already has a general weekend ban for lorries in place all year round, prohibiting lorries from Slovenia's roads between 8 AM on Saturday and 10 PM on Sunday.


SOURCE: Slovenia times

Hauliers Threaten to Block Key Border Tunnel