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Old May 8th, 2016, 11:56 PM   #541
mitasis
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Highest alpine pass (paved road) in Greece:

Baros Pass passing between Thessaly region to Epirus region in Northwestern Greece.

Highest Point: Baros (altitude 1940m)

https://www.google.gr/maps/dir/%CE%9...9!2d39.6614978







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Old August 4th, 2017, 02:16 PM   #542
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The fruition of Colle del Sommeiller road, the highest road in Europe open to motorized traffic, has changed this year. Now it is a toll road (5 € per vehicle), open from 9 to 17 every day (except on Thursdays, when it's closed).

Some pictures taken during my stay at the Colle doing research on permafrost.

1- Colle del Sommeiller (3000 m) as seen from hiking trail above it:


2- Last hairpins before the Colle:


3- Colle as seen from the top of Mount Sommeiller:


4- Section called "Pian dei Frati" (Friars' Plains), @ 2600 m


5- Another view of Pian dei Frati from a distance:


6- Panorama:
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Old August 4th, 2017, 03:49 PM   #543
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The highest point accessible by vehicles appears to be at 2,991 meters.
That could be the highest public road in Europe, after the Pico de la Veleta road near Granada, Spain, has been closed in the 1990s.

A video of the last km of that road:

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In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 04:01 PM   #544
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My handheld GPS receiver also measured 2991 at the parking.

The road was in surprisingly good conditions: during my stay even a Renault 4 and a Citroën AX managed to get to the Colle.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 04:28 PM   #545
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I wouldn't mind tolls being charged if they paved the road.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 04:33 PM   #546
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I wouldn't mind tolls being charged if they paved the road.
The maintenance of this road is extremely expensive as it is (snowplowing, reconstructing sections that collapse during winter, rockslides and rock removal, etc...)

The road was in large part paved with asphalt in the past, which I think was removed at a certain moment (some small sections with bad asphalt still remain at Pian dei Frati). It was used from 1962 to 1984 for summer skiing on the now near-extinct Sommeiller Glacier.
The administration at the municipality of Bardonecchia, which owns the last section of the road, does not want it to be too busy with cars. The toll is a way to finance maintenance but also to discourage some people, and I agree with that.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 04:38 PM   #547
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The toll is more acceptable than those high charges for Austrian scenic mountain roads. Timmelsjoch charges € 21 for a return trip, not to mention € 35.50 for the Großglockner.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 04:42 PM   #548
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Well, I think higher tolls could be charged to more Alpine passes, making them touristic destinations with some infrastructure that enhances (spread stop/vantage points/view platforms) instead of detract (a bunch of cramped stuff at the summit). Passo del Rombo is the 'gold standard' for me in that regard.

I am also in favor of completion of the few easy-ish km within the Gran Paradiso area needed to make a new Aosta-Piemonte connection. It is a pity they stopped finalizing the road works there decades ago, it would be a very interesting valley/alpine drive.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 04:47 PM   #549
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
The toll is more acceptable than those high charges for Austrian scenic mountain roads. Timmelsjoch charges € 21 for a return trip, not to mention € 35.50 for the Großglockner.
Gloßflockner is losing some of its unique appeal because the glacier is retreating fast. It is still an interesting area to visit, but the impressions people would have gotten there until the early 1980s is no longer there.

I like the somehow desolate summer look of alpine environment above the tree line. It is always interesting to observe the subtle changes in vegetation as you climb.

I know the Alpine glacier retreat is influenced by global warming, but it appears it has been happening since the beginning of 19th Century, although some glaciers in the northern side were still advancing until 1890 or so.

Timmelsjoch/Passo Rombo has some great views and fitting artwork spread through the route, I'm not sure however driving both ways would cut it. It is probably quicker to make both routes a through-drive, unless you are having holidays in Sölden or Salzburg..
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Old August 4th, 2017, 05:46 PM   #550
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I know the Alpine glacier retreat is influenced by global warming, but it appears it has been happening since the beginning of 19th Century, although some glaciers in the northern side were still advancing until 1890 or so.
That's true, in fact the coal-burning era began just few decades earlier.
Keep in mind that the "little ice age" between 1400 and 1800 made the glacier advance, so even without anthropogenic warming, at the natural end of the era the glaciers would have retreated anyways.
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