Mont Blanc Tunnel
The term Mont Blanc means “White Mountain.” The historic tunnel gets its name from the highest mountain the Alps mountain range of Europe, Mont Blanc. The two-lane dual direction tunnel stretching a distance of 11.61 kilometers or 7.21 miles (about the size of Mackinac Island), serves as a direct link between the Aosta Valley of Italy with Haute-Savoie of France. Interestingly, Mont Blanc Tunnel is about one-and-one-tenth times as tall as the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench. The Mont Blanc road tunnel was officially opened to members of the public in 1965 after laborious work commenced on the Italian side in 1946. During construction, the tunnel’s full diameter was drilled and blasted. The two firms responsible for the construction project were ATMB of France and SITMB of Italy.
Notably, a freak fire accident in 1999 that resulted in the deaths of 39 people meant that the tunnel had to be closed down for repair works costing $514m until 2002. At present, the tunnel is equipped with a computerized system to analyze data from some safety equipment like heat sensors and cameras.