In the period before the heavy rains this last week there was some sliding of earth and stones noticed above the Moyenne Corniche close to Monaco in Cap d’Ail. Spotted by engineers responsible for protecting the road and protecting nearby residences, and to avoid a landslide, they rapidly built an additional retaining wall. Unfortunately, two days of heavy rain partly overwhelmed the retaining bulwark they had put in place. Hundreds of cubic meters of earth and rock slid onto the road.
There could have been a major incident, because when last Wednesday evening and into Thursday the retaining blocks moved, they struck a huge articulated truck in the rear. It was part of a convoy, as they entered the adjoining tunnel – fortunately the truck was hit only enough to leave it immobilised in the tunnel rather than destroying it.
What has been destroyed is the traffic flow that normally bypasses Monaco on the Moyenne Corniche – whether it is from Nice traveling toward Beausoleil and Italy – or from Italy and Menton traveling toward Cap d’Ail and Nice. There have been no injuries from the landslide but 21 people (16 residents of the gardens of Monaco and 5 from a vacation rental) were evacuated.
There are two additional major groups who will unfortunately now suffer the consequences:
Traffic in Monaco, already dense and impacted by local construction activity will get worse because traffic from the Moyenne Corniche, which is severely blocked, has to be diverted through Monaco. Monaco drivers beware, our roads will be very congested. And, of course, for anyone using the Moyenne Corniche, their life is going to be disrupted. Clearing the debris and reinforcing the area impacted around the road is a major engineering task that will take weeks rather than days.
The landslide happened at approximately 1 am on Thursday, luckily with no injuries. The Fire Brigade from Monaco and a police unit from Menton were deployed to evacuate the residents of the Monaco Gardens; they were relocated urgently, assisted by the town hall of Cap d’Ail.
The RM6007 will be closed in both directions to traffic in the week ahead and longer probably.
As a result, the road is closed to traffic at the hospital’s roundabout at the western entrance to Monaco indefinitely.
Motorists from Nice and towards Beausoleil and the east of the department will have to turn into Monaco.
Motorists from Italy and Menton going towards Nice are forced to turn towards Monaco at the junction between the RM6007 and Avenue Hector-Otto, just before the residence Les Jardins de Monaco.
One can imagine two quite different types of races taking place in May. There is the Monaco E-prix on May 11th which will take place at lightning speed as will the Monaco Grand Prix later in May. There is the rather more cautious race to make the Moyenne Corniche safe for traffic and nearby residents.
It will need a geological survey, engineering expertise and weeks of work by the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolitan road crews. The best that can be expected in the next fortnight is half the road be freed for one way traffic and that likely not before May 10th. And that is a “guesstimate” at best at this point. That means traffic lights and interminable waits while each direction takes its turn.
Monaco residents will experience unusual traffic density for weeks due to this latest Moyenne Corniche landslide. The race to repair the road will go on. And the great events highlighted for May in Monaco – the E-prix and the Grand Prix will definitely go on, even if, sadly, the roads around us are congested and commuting is from time to time a head-ache.