After almost five years the state is still looking for an alternate layout, as it is not possible to solve the problem by building a gallery for protection against falling rocks. The highest road in our country is also an interesting spot for shooting advertisements, and is therefore often closed, which causes additional displeasures, and confusion.
In 1995, when the Mangart cooperative society started collecting environmental fee of € 5 for a vehicle, intended for cleaning and various investments by the village, from the ski slope to replacement of asbestos roof covering at the mountain hut, they recorded some 7,000 vehicles per year. Last year there were 17,000 vehicles, Peter Mlekuž, said the secretary of the cooperative society.
"The number changes from some ten vehicles to over 500 vehicles per day, 60 to 65% of that number were motorcycles," Mlekuž explains. There is a small parking area for 30 t0 35 vehicles just below the rockfall, but in summer months and in peak hours it fills immediately. "The number of visitors is constantly growing, and we are considering the introduction of bus service at least during weekends; we already have some plans," Mlekuž continues. Last year there were more than 8000 cyclists among the visitors.
Responsibility lies with the drivers
The Slovenian Infrastructure Agency claims that in case of an accident the responsibility lies with the drivers. But Mlekuž is convinced that after almost five years the dangerous section should have been solved. "In 1938 the road was built in seven, eight months, manually, by 500 people, while today in spite of the machinery and logistics we have today this rockfall still hasn't been dealt with. It is sad, and ridiculous at the same time," he added.
The Infrastructure Agency explained that the precondition for a substitute road is an amendment of Triglav National Park Act. They surveyed the terrain together with the representatives of the municipality of Bovec, and decided on two possible layouts passing the hut. The decision on the best layout of the length of approximately 300 metres should be made by the end of the summer.
The second big problem is the shooting of commercials. Last summer the road was closed five times, also on August 15. "People frown upon me, thinking the municipality issues the permits. But in truth we have no jurisdiction; the permits are given directly by the Agency. We are not opposed to shooting, but it should not be done during weekends and during top season, especially now that the road to Vršič is closed," the mayor of Bovec Valter Mlekuž explained. He hopes they will come to an agreement in the shortest time possible.
Mariša Bizjak, Radio Koper; photo: Mariša Bizjak; translated by G. K.