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The existing coastal road : A hazardous and costly infrastructure

2 juin 2016

General comments

Approximately 13 km in length, the current four-lane road was delivered in March 1976, 47 years ago. It was constructed on a landfill of reinforced earth consisting of 27 bridges.

  • On the sea side : 60,000 tetrapods of 8 (the majority) to 20 or even 25 tonnes make up the protective shell, protecting against the destructive effects of sea swell.
  • On the cliff side : 760,000 m² of nets along the cliff and 65,000 m³ of a protective wall of gabions has been put up to progressively reduce the risk of rock-falls reaching the road, particularly since 2009. Today, all the sections representing moderate or high risk or have been protected, representing approximately 80% of the total length, 56% by nets alone.

Approximately 60,000 vehicles drive along this road each day (compared to 10,000 when the road was opened in 1976). Consequently, the road is the object of a high level of servicing for users with, in particular :

  • Specifically adapted equipment : 35 cameras (fixed and mobile), 12 variable noticeboards (both directions) and six pluviometers to determine partial closing (2x3, with double safety measures) linked up to the CRGT (Reunionese traffic management centre.
  • Staff on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, all the year round : regular patrols and the CRGT obtaining and issuing information for users and the media (news bulletins, direct radio announcements, audiotel, infotrafic.re etc.) and staff working for the northern road subdivision available at all times for partial closure operations, reopening and emergency operations (clearing, supervising controlled rock-falls, accidents etc.)

A large number of vehicles use the road and it is extremely sensitive to unforeseen events, particularly when it is partly closed. Accidents or breakdowns significantly increase traffic jams, which are recurring incidents at the western entrance to St Denis (up to 10km of traffic jams in the morning).

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