Mountain road infrastructure is highly vulnerable to natural risks induced by climate change.
On 1 January 2018, the European SECURUS 2 project began on the Bielsa – Aragnouet (Lannemazan – Aínsa) and Portalet Area (Laruns – Biescas) road links to guarantee user safety against diverse natural hazards as a continuity project to SECURUS 1.
This project’s partners carried out various actions in areas such as protection and prevention against the risk of avalanches, the risk of landslides and soil erosion, as well as the development of winter viability equipment and an Advanced Medical Post at the Tunnel’s north entrance.
• Forecasting avalanche risk for roadways through the Bielsa-Aragnouet tunnel and Portalet.
• Monitoring weather forecasts to adapt salt usage and winter road shifts on highways.
• Installing avalanche protection on the slopes near roads.
The main aim consists of significantly improving user security against natural hazards, specifically:
• Risks derived from avalanches falling onto the road.
• Encouraging the use of our road passes through an increased number of users.
• Supplying our tools to snow experts so they can forecast and adjust preventative road closures due to avalanche risk (new weather stations, Nivexc, creating a log, etc.).
» A 5% increase in users between 2016 and 2019.
» 324 hours of avalanche risk-related closures on the Bielsa-Aragnouet cross-border pass between 2016 and 2021 (49 hours of which between 2019 and 2021).
Case mainly implemented via objectives from other non-adaptation policies, though with significant consideration for climate change adaptation aspects.
Département Hautes-Pyrénées. Département Pyrénées Atlantiques. Government of Aragon.
» Municipal Councils of Bielsa, Aragnouet, and Saint-Lary
» Bielsa-Aragnouet Tunnel Consortium
» Portalet Area
» Government of Aragon Mountain Service
» Preparing prior environmental studies.
» Requesting avalanche protection work permits, with their respective third-party public exhibition time.
Success factors: when selecting the best actions in pursuit of economic and technical balance, specifically avalanche protection work, being able to work with specialists in these types of high-mountain solutions is an important success factor. Meanwhile, this degree of specialisation in localised avalanche risk prevention is equally important. It has been endeavoured to ensure this by requesting various characteristics in tendered public contract technical specifications, as well as the required economic and technical solvency.
Limiting factors: the need for synergies for seeking innovation solutions that are transferable to other areas of the Pyrenees and other European mountain ranges.
The total budget for the approved project is €5,638,844, 65% of which co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020).
When it comes to assessing which avalanche slopes to address by installing avalanche protection, some faces have been prioritised over others based on prior avalanche records (2014-2020) and the degree of road user risk exposure.
Updates made to the SECURUS 1 and 2 projects respond to the Government of Aragon’s roadway user security improvement policy, as well as those of the Departments of Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
On the other hand, investments made have been possible thanks to co-financing from the POCTEFA 2014-2020 Programme, in which this European programme is registered.
01/01/2018 - 12/31/2021 (3 years - in progress)