Evening Update Thursday 7th July 2022

Construction work on a new high-speed rail line linking Nice with Toulon and Marseille will begin in 2024, it's been confirmed today. The Ligne Nouvelle is scheduled to be completed in 2040. It'll be 40% financed by the Paca region, 40% by the French state and the remaining 20% will come from EU funding. The current line between Marseille and Ventimiglia dates back to the 1860s, and is used by 150 trains each day at different speeds. An initial plan for a high-speed line was abandoned in the 1990s. Over the past decade, the idea has gained traction again - and in 2018, France's then-transport minister Elisabeth Borne confirmed it was a priority. As part of the project, a new multi-modal transport hub would be built at Nice Saint-Augustin, with tram links to the city centre and airport.

There were long traffic jams on the A8 motorway this morning after two separate accidents, one in each direction. The first took place on the westbound carriageway a few kilometres after Villeneuve-Loubet, just before 10am. The crash involved two cars and a truck, blocking two lanes and causing 6km of jams. At almost the same time, a second accident took place between Mougins and Antibes, involving two cars.

Meanwhile, a municipal worker for the Nice metropolitan area had to be cut free from his car after losing control and crashing on the Avenue Henri Dunant in Nice this morning. The 59-year-old was taken to Pasteur hospital with face injuries. 

France's police watchdog is investigating claims that police officers on the Riviera accepted cash payments to work a second job as security guards at private events. According to Le Parisien newspaper, eight officers stationed in Antibes, Nice and Cagnes-sur-Mer topped up their earnings by working as security guards for a private firm at several high-profile events. It's reported they were paid up to €1,200 in cash for an evening's work. Among the events was a 2017 rally in Paris by then-presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, with 20,000 people in attendance, and a gala event near Saint-Tropez organised by Leonardo Di Caprio's charitable foundation, in the presence of celebrities including Kate Winslet and Lenny Kravitz.

The mayor of Antibes has asked the Alpes-Maritimes préfecture to set department-wide rules on coronavirus measures such as wearing masks, to avoid confusing the public. Yesterday, Nice announced that masks would be compulsory again on the Lignes d'Azur public transport network - and Cannes announced it was stepping up its vaccination campaign. Jean Leonetti, who is also president of the Sophia Antipolis agglomeration, said it was important that the measures were consistent and coherent throughout the Alpes-Maritimes. For now, wearing a mask is not required on the Envibus network around Antibes - and the town