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D1085 (ex N85) France: warning.
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 19 October 2015 6:17 PM
Subject: D1085 (ex N85) France: warning.

Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street

On the above road between Gap and Grenoble, a little north of the village of Laffrey (GPS N45.02682 E5.77241), in the northbound carriageway only (i.e. no restriction southbound), there is an unannounced 2.6 metre height restriction.

Shortly before the restriction the road changes to two lane, and the height restriction affects only the left hand (overtaking) lane. There are warning signs just before the restriction but, apart from the actual height restriction signs themselves, they are unconventional, potentially confusing, and in French.

The distance from the first sign to the actual height restriction barriers is short, and the approach is on a bend, so forward visibility is somewhat restricted, potentially more so if in traffic. It is essential to take the right hand lane as soon as possible, where there is a car-park type barrier across the road, at which one has to stop and obtain permission from a remote control centre to proceed. Instructions, also somewhat confusing, are available in English from a screen adjacent to the barrier.

The purpose of the control is to prevent coaches and vehicles exceeding 8 tonnes, which may have missed numerous earlier signs banning such vehicles, from entering the long, and in places steep, descent to Vizille, just before Grenoble. Most motorhomes will infringe the height limit but, being under 8 tonnes and not being coaches, should be authorised to take the hill. If refused they will be instructed to go back to La Mure and proceed as below.

If following this route it seems preferable to simply take the signposted diversion at La Mure, via the D529, for coaches/vehicles exceeding 8 tonnes (roundabout at GPS N44.91209 E5.78422). This avoids the height restriction/barriers, and the notorious hill (the "rampe de Laffrey") which, from its accident/fatality rate, is apparently rated the most dangerous road in France. This diversion re-joins the D1085 just beyond Vizille so avoiding the hill and the "faff" altogether.
Posted: 19 October 2015 9:50 PM
Subject: RE: D1085 (ex N85) France: warning.
Just joined

Posts: 19

Location: Knaus Van Ti 550MD. Fiat 2.3 130

There have been a number of serious coach crashes on the Descent de Laffrey due to brake failure on the very long descent. The worst being in 2007 when 26 died.
Posted: 21 October 2015 12:11 PM
Subject: RE: D1085 (ex N85) France: warning.
Pops in from time to time

Posts: 116
Location: Wildax Consellation3

We came across this three weeks ago, as Brian says keep to the right hand lane wait at the barrier and the barrier will raise, their must be a weight strip in the road. We had to divert to this route from Briancon as the D 1091 is closed across the Alps at La Grave due to the possible collapse of a tunnel. It was dissapointing not being able to do the Brianco crossing, but the scenery down to Gap was worth it.
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