will allow are building died was not going to happen will include have led means has risen had risen have served have suffered is slowly taking shape will stay voted went New tunnel planned beneath the Alps
For centuries, the Alps (1) as a natural trade barrier between northern and southern Europe. Sending Italian wine to the Netherlands, or German washing machines to Greece, (2) a long, slow journey along narrow Alpine valleys, through tunnels and over passes.
The amount of freight crossing the Alps in heavy goods vehicles (3) sharply over the last two decades. In 1990 an estimated 40 million tonnes (4) by road; in 2001 that (5) to 90 million tonnes, with further big increases expected by 2010. But concerns for the Alpine environment and fears over safety (6) to big pressure to move freight off the roads and onto the railways. Both Switzerland's Gotthard road tunnel and France's Mont Blanc road tunnel (7) major fires in the last ten years in which many (8).
As long ago as 1994, the Swiss (9) in a nationwide referendum to put all freight crossing their country onto the railways. Naturally, such an ambitious plan (10) overnight, but now the project dubbed the engineering feat of the 21st Century (11). Deep beneath the Alps, the Swiss (12) a high-speed rail link between Zurich and Milan. It (13), at 57 kilometres (35 miles), the world's longest tunnel. A key feature of the project, which is new to Alpine transport, is the fact that the entire railway line (14) at the same altitude of 500 metres (1,650 ft) above sea level. This (15) trains using the line to reach speeds of 240 km/h (149 mph), reducing the travel time between Zurich and Milan from today's four hours to just two and a half.