A79: opening of the first free-flow toll freeway in France

APRR Group

ALIAÉ (Autoroute de la Liaison Atlantique Europe) opened this Friday, November 4, the first free-flow toll highway in France. Nearly two years after construction began, the former RCEA (Route Centre-Europe Atlantique), now upgraded to motorway standards, becomes the A79. This 88 km section now serves the A6 and A71 freeways in a safe and comfortable way. 

A strategic and secure crossroads 
In March 2020, the French government signed a concession contract with ALIAÉ, a subsidiary of the Eiffage Group, to transform the N79 into a 2 x 2 lane motorway section. After 23 months of work, the A79 highway is now open between Sazeret (Allier) and Digoin (Saône-et-Loire). This transverse axis is strategic as it links the French Atlantic coast to Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Every day, more than 10,000 vehicles, including nearly 40% of heavy goods vehicles, use this road. The former RCEA, sadly nicknamed the "road of death", was one of the most accident-prone stretches in France. 

The first free-flow highway in France
The A79 is the first free-flow highway in France. Already in use in Austria, Spain, Portugal and the United States, free-flow technology eliminates the need for physical toll barriers, thus helping to modernize the French highway network. The environmental benefits of this type of installation are numerous. By eliminating the need for vehicles (particularly heavy goods vehicles) to stop and start at toll gates, this innovative system contributes to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. In addition, the land required for the free-flow gantries is smaller than for the toll gates. The impact on the natural environment is therefore greatly reduced.

APRR in charge of operations
ALIAÉ has entrusted APRR with the operation of the A79. The Dompierre-sur-Besbre site (Allier) was created to carry out these missions. 
The teams, attached to the Auvergne district, have been mobilized - since March 16, 2020 - on all the marking operations required for the construction of the future A79. 
Since this Friday, November 4, they have been operating a section of the motorway that complies with motorway standards!