The French Senate has ratified an agreement between the governments of France and Italy by approving the bill which will allow work to start on a high-speed rail link between Lyon and Turin.
The project, which has faced some fierce opposition from some quarters, includes the construction of a 57 km twin-bore tunnel between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (France) and Susa (Italy).
Once complete, high-speed train services will reduce the travel time between Lyon and Turin to less than two hours.
The original agreement was signed by the then Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and French President François Hollande in February 2015. The French National Assembly and Italian Chamber of Deputies ratified the agreement in December.
With the legal hurdles overcome, Tunnel Euralpin Lyon – Turin (TELT), the body overseeing the project, plans to launch the tendering process for the main construction works in 2018 and the line is scheduled to open between 2029-2030.
Although the majority of funding for the line will come from France (25 per cent) and Italy (36 per cent), the EU is due to finance the remaining 40 per cent.
Preliminary works are already underway. The main image shows the site at Saint-Martin-La-Porte where a 9 km exploratory tunnel is being excavated along the same axis as the future rail link.