Tunnel du Chambon closed. Revised opening dates, ferry and new road

The closure of the Tunnel du Chambon in April, linking Bourg d’Oisans to the Col du Lautaret and beyond, has sparked widespread discussions amongst the locals and cyclists planning to visit the region, such as when will it reopen, are they building a new road and can cyclists use the ferry to bypass the tunnel?

Tunnel du Chambon

Tunnel du Chambon

On the 10th April the Tunnel du Chambon was deemed to have an extremely high chance of collapsing and was immediately closed, with initial reopening dates suggested for early July. More recent surveys have shown that up to 100 000 m2 or 250’000 tonnes of rock are shifting around 10cm everyday, threatening collapse the entire tunnel. As such the reopening of the tunnel is very much in doubt, but the authorities hope to have a solution in place prior to the opening of the ski season in December.

Chamnon alternative routeOne of the solutions put forward, is to build a reinforced structure within the existing tunnel. However the extent of the problem has forced the local authorities to sign off on a new road on the south side of the lake, which they hope to have built by the winter. Whether they intend to build and maintain two roads up the valley, or to concentrate their efforts on building one reliable route remains to be seen.

Revised route for La Marmotte 2015

Revised route for La Marmotte 2015

The consequences of this for cycling tourism is that the only road leading from Le Bourg d’Oisans towards La Grave, Col du Lautaret, Col du Galibier and Briancon is essentially cut off. This has already lead to the rerouteing of La Marmotte Granfondo and almost certainly the  penultimate stage of the Tour de France from due to race from Modean to Alpe d’Huez over La Galibier on the 25th July. La Marmotte will now return to the Alpe d’Huez valley via the Col du Mollard and the Col de la Croix de Fer. The Tour de France is very likely to follow suit.

Kevin from Cycling Ascents taking the ferry around the Chambon

Kevin from Cycling Ascents taking the ferry around the Chambon

One of the most talked about topics amongst locals and cyclists planning a trip to the region, is the possibility of using a ferry to bypass the tunnel and get to up to the Col du Galibier. The ferry has been provided for locals stranded on the La Grave side of the tunnel to access shops and schools in Bourg d’Oisans and Grenoble. However I recently spoke to Kevin from Cycling Ascents in Bourg who, last week with some of his cycling clients, successfully used the ferry without a problem and achieved one of the most magical climbs of the Col du Galibier, thanks to almost zero traffic. However he went on to add that yesterday (21st June) his guests were turned away and told that “that due to the risk of a rockfall into the reservoir they weren’t taking anyone with bikes – only locals on business.

So officially, for the moment, the ferry is not an option for cyclists. However pressure from business owners in La Grave, at the Col du Lautaret and the Col du Galibier, that are experiencing a catastrophic effect to their trade from the closure, may force some changes here in the future.

With all this in mind, the Oisans region still has more than enough routes to keep every cyclists satisfied. Including amongst many others, routes to the following places. Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer, Alpe d’Huez and the Sarenne valley, Les Deux Alpes, Col de La Morte, Col d’Ornon and La Berarde.

double size 432x278mm masterBike Lodging is based in Le Bourg d’Oisans and helps cyclists find and book bike friendly accommodation such as that of Cycling Ascents. We still have options for La Marmotte, the final week of the Tour de France and for the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon.

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About Bike Lodging

Keen mountain biker living in the French Alps helping other cyclists and mountain bikers find bike friendly accommodation.
This entry was posted in Alpe d'Huez, Alps, Bourg d'Oisans, Cycling, Fiets, Tour de France, Tunnel du Chambon and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Tunnel du Chambon closed. Revised opening dates, ferry and new road

  1. Dutchy says:

    Is there any possibility to cycle on the other side of the lake at this moment? If i take a look at some maps, i believe there is a road. But what kind of road? During the Tour we have a spot at a campsite in La Grave, so it is very important to know. Greets

  2. Bikelodging says:

    Hello Dutchy, I don’t think this other road is an option for car or road bike. It might possibly be passable by mountain bike, but I am not sure. I am getting so much interest about this, I might pop up there tomorrow and check it out for myself. I will try to chat to the ferry company and if I can get through, chat to the guys at the tours office and La Grave and see what they are suggesting. Obviously lots of people are cancelling their bookings up there and relocating to Bourg, so its in their interests to provide a solution. I will create a new blog when I have more news.
    Please also keep an eye on my on site blog http://bikelodging.com/blog/. I am slowly moving my focus to this blog, so even more posts appear here.

  3. Juha Helenius says:

    Is southern route/trail possible to walk with loaded touring bike? We can spend lot of time if it’s just possible. We realy want to visit La Grave and damn and got to Bourg-d’Oisans . Thanks

    • Bikelodging says:

      Hello Juha, the path to the south of the lake is closed now, because they expect the side of the mountain above the tunnel to collapse any day, possibly sending a wave over this path.
      There is an unpaved route further above the tunnel via the Plateau d’Emparis, which is spectacular, but will take a while.
      Hope this helps.

  4. Sefi says:

    Hello, Is there a way to get to Telegraphe/Galibier via Croix de Fer and Col Du Mollard if the tunnel remains shut at the beginning of September?

    • Bikelodging says:

      Yes. It’s still possible to access the Galibier via the Croix de after and the Maurienne valley. Long day there and back from Bourg. We have been arranging transfer pick ups from various locations in the Maurienne valley for those climbing the Galibier via the Glandon or Croix du Fer.

  5. Mark Gilmour says:

    Has the tunnel road reopened yet, or are there plans for it to be open for the winter and next summer season?

    • Bikelodging says:

      Hi Mark, no the tunnel is still closed and looks set to be so for a long time yet or even permanently. They are now in the process of building a temporary single lane road on the other side of the lake which should be open in time for the winter season 2015/16. However this side of the lake is avalanche prone, which may cause frequent closures of the road. A new tunnel cut deeper into the mountain has been proposed on the original side of the mountain. I read recently that it was hoped that this would be built by next summer, but this sounds optimistic.

      Alternative route – Tunnel du Chambon

  6. Stoyan Stoichkov says:

    Hello and Good day,
    could you tell me, is it possible going to Les2Alpes from this road, / is there alternative road on the other side on lake?/ We gotta go early on December.
    Thank You.

    • Bikelodging says:

      Hello Stoyan. If you are coming to The Grenoble side, then you won’t be effected. If you’re coming from Italy/Briancon, then the tunnel will be closed. However as you speculated, there is a new road being constructed on the other side of the lake. This is very close to being completed and should be open any day now. This is just a temporary road and will be closed if there is a high avalanche risk. I will post news as I get it.
      If it’s closed any your coming from Italy, you will have to take the Tunnel du Frejus and enter the valley from the Grenoble side.
      Hope this helps. Will

      • Stoyan Stoichkov says:

        Thank You very much. Yes, we will come from Italy/ Briancon – La Grave/.
        If the road still not work, we will take the Tunnel du Frejus.
        Good Luck!

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