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Alert: Route blocked between Borce and Urdos

andycohn

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Time of past OR future Camino
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My wife and I are on the Arles route now. Between Borce and Urdos (one stage before the Col de Somport) the route is blocked to walkers because of road construction, and you need to take a bus from Etsaut, which is right before Borce and on the other side of the river, to Urdos, a distance of approximately 5 kilometers.

Frankly, the preceding 10 k stretch between Accous and Etsaut is not so great either. There are several stretches on the very busy main highway with little shoulder, and when you're off the road and on real trail there's lots of swampy walking and two knee-high crossings over raging streams. If I were to do it over again I'd just take the bus all the way from Accous to Urdos. Buses from Accous leave at 8:33, 10:25 and 3:45. All stop at Etsaut 25 minutes later, and from Etsaut, it's less than 10 minutes more to Urdos.
 
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My wife and I are on the Arles route now. Between Borce and Urdos (one stage before the Col de Somport) the route is blocked to walkers because of road construction, and you need to take a bus from Etsaut, which is right before Borce and on the other side of the river, to Urdos, a distance of approximately 5 kilometers.

Frankly, the preceding 10 k stretch between Accous and Etsaut is not so great either. There are several stretches on the very busy main highway with little shoulder, and when you're off the road and on real trail there's lots of swampy walking and two knee-high crossings over raging streams. If I were to do it over again I'd just take the bus all the way from Accous to Urdos. Buses from Accous leave at 8:33, 10:25 and 3:45. All stop at Etsaut 25 minutes later, and from Etsaut, it's less than 10 minutes more to Urdos.
Oh no. I'll be there in a few days. Is this a temporary thing or something that will be an issue for the coming days?
 
My wife and I are on the Arles route now. Between Borce and Urdos (one stage before the Col de Somport) the route is blocked to walkers because of road construction, and you need to take a bus from Etsaut, which is right before Borce and on the other side of the river, to Urdos, a distance of approximately 5 kilometers.

Frankly, the preceding 10 k stretch between Accous and Etsaut is not so great either. There are several stretches on the very busy main highway with little shoulder, and when you're off the road and on real trail there's lots of swampy walking and two knee-high crossings over raging streams. If I were to do it over again I'd just take the bus all the way from Accous to Urdos. Buses from Accous leave at 8:33, 10:25 and 3:45. All stop at Etsaut 25 minutes later, and from Etsaut, it's less than 10 minutes more to Urdos.
Yes, last summer there was a recommendation that pilgrims take the bus on the French side along in this same area, but the sign was not posted until right before the dangerous section and some pilgrims didn't want to walk back to town to catch a bus.
 
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There were roadworks further up, beyond Urdos towards Somport late last year too, it does look to be ongoing..
 
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Thanks everyone.

It looks like I'll be doing a bus ride... sigh.
 
My wife and I are on the Arles route now. Between Borce and Urdos (one stage before the Col de Somport) the route is blocked to walkers because of road construction, and you need to take a bus from Etsaut, which is right before Borce and on the other side of the river, to Urdos, a distance of approximately 5 kilometers.

Frankly, the preceding 10 k stretch between Accous and Etsaut is not so great either. There are several stretches on the very busy main highway with little shoulder, and when you're off the road and on real trail there's lots of swampy walking and two knee-high crossings over raging streams. If I were to do it over again I'd just take the bus all the way from Accous to Urdos. Buses from Accous leave at 8:33, 10:25 and 3:45. All stop at Etsaut 25 minutes later, and from Etsaut, it's less than 10 minutes more to Urdos.
Sorry you were knee deep in mud. I’ll gladly take the bus!
 
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My wife and I are on the Arles route now. Between Borce and Urdos (one stage before the Col de Somport) the route is blocked to walkers because of road construction, and you need to take a bus from Etsaut, which is right before Borce and on the other side of the river, to Urdos, a distance of approximately 5 kilometers.

Frankly, the preceding 10 k stretch between Accous and Etsaut is not so great either. There are several stretches on the very busy main highway with little shoulder, and when you're off the road and on real trail there's lots of swampy walking and two knee-high crossings over raging streams. If I were to do it over again I'd just take the bus all the way from Accous to Urdos. Buses from Accous leave at 8:33, 10:25 and 3:45. All stop at Etsaut 25 minutes later, and from Etsaut, it's less than 10 minutes more to Urdos.
very helpful Andy as I am planning to walk from Arles to Pamplona April 2024, good to know, thx for sharing
 
very helpful Andy as I am planning to walk from Arles to Pamplona April 2024, good to know, thx for sharing
From the bus window as we passed the construction, it looked like a fairly long-term project, but there's always the possibility that it will be finished by the time you walk. If you email the gite communale at Urdos a few days in advance, they'll have an update: lecompostelle.urdos@live.fr.

The construction work definitely makes the route unpassable on foot, but the good news is that we all now have a perfect excuse to cut out 5 kilometers of climbing on a day which is otherwise more arduous than SJPDP to Roncesvalles.
 
Hi @Sanman Good advice from @andycohn but do check. It’s almost a year til you get there. The work may well be finished.

We actually did walk that section via the road in May this year. Not many days after Andy. … 🙃. But we were walking in the opposite direction back from Spain. We knew about the construction works and planned to take the bus but on leaving Urdos in the morning we discovered there was no bus in our direction until the afternoon. 😫

Just before the start of the roadworks we tried hitchhiking for about an hour, without success. So we decided to walk. As it turned out there were only a few short curved sections which were scary - but I wouldn’t recommend it. It was not pleasant. If there’d been a bus, we’d have definitely taken it. 😎

So you’ve decided on Arles / Aragones. Excellent. 👍👍👍
 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
From the bus window as we passed the construction, it looked like a fairly long-term project, but there's always the possibility that it will be finished by the time you walk. If you email the gite communale at Urdos a few days in advance, they'll have an update: lecompostelle.urdos@live.fr.

The construction work definitely makes the route unpassable on foot, but the good news is that we all now have a perfect excuse to cut out 5 kilometers of climbing on a day which is otherwise more arduous than SJPDP to Roncesvalles.
Thx Andy - I shall keep this thread and figure it out before we go. Just curious, I was debating walking ARles or Geneva (Via Gebennenis) to Le Puy and then the Stevenson (I have done Le Puy) - have you walked Geneva or the Stevenson?
 
Hi @Sanman Good advice from @andycohn but do check. It’s almost a year til you get there. The work may well be finished.

We actually did walk that section via the road in May this year. Not many days after Andy. … 🙃. But we were walking in the opposite direction back from Spain. We knew about the construction works and planned to take the bus but on leaving Urdos in the morning we discovered there was no bus in our direction until the afternoon. 😫

Just before the start of the roadworks we tried hitchhiking for about an hour, without success. So we decided to walk. As it turned out there were only a few short curved sections which were scary - but I wouldn’t recommend it. It was not pleasant. If there’d been a bus, we’d have definitely taken it. 😎

So you’ve decided on Arles / Aragones. Excellent. 👍👍👍
But you Aussies are a different breed of people altogether!

When we reached the Canfranc albergue the next day, the only one who had bulled his way through, around the barrier and oblivious to the semi-trucks, was a German guy determined to walk E. F. I. between his house in Germany and Finisterre.

We're just a wimpy couple from California.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Thx Andy - I shall keep this thread and figure it out before we go. Just curious, I was debating walking ARles or Geneva (Via Gebennenis) to Le Puy and then the Stevenson (I have done Le Puy) - have you walked Geneva or the Stevenson?
Hi Sanman, The answer is "yes" to Stevenson, and also to Le Puy, but "no" to the Via Gabiensis. On the Arles / Aragones route we walked only from Oloron St Marie. I also chimed in on your other thread. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...vs-geneva-route-stevenson.81580/#post-1154575.

Pelerina really nailed it on that other thread with respect to the Stevenson. It's a great walk and well-supported with infrastructure. Like the Le Puy route. But the scenery is surprisingly different, especially in the Cevennes area.
 
Hi Sanman, The answer is "yes" to Stevenson, and also to Le Puy, but "no" to the Via Gabiensis. On the Arles / Aragones route we walked only from Oloron St Marie. I also chimed in on your other thread. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...vs-geneva-route-stevenson.81580/#post-1154575.

Pelerina really nailed it on that other thread with respect to the Stevenson. It's a great walk and well-supported with infrastructure. Like the Le Puy route. But the scenery is surprisingly different, especially in the Cevennes area.
THx Andy ...decisions, decisions!
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Is there any update on the roadworks? I am setting off from Toulouse in April.
I suggest you contact the manager of the gite communal (municipal albergue) in Urdos. He was very pro-active in letting pilgrims know of the road closure. The email address is in my post above (#11). I used google translate to write him in French. If the road is still closed, you might want to consider my initial suggestion in the first post to simply take the bus from Accous to Urdos.
 
I got a reply from the man at the communal gite in URDOS. The roadworks re not due to restart until May so its possible to take the main road between Borce and Urdos although it is quite narrow.
Snow is falling on the pyrenees at the moment and the col du Somport is closed to all traffic because of an avalanche so it is necessary to take the bus through the tunnel at the moment. He advised that the situation could change in the next few days, perhaps some more snow.

He is very helpful, i will contact him again when I am on the camino perhaps at Oloron-Sainte-Marie.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I got a reply from the man at the communal gite in URDOS. The roadworks re not due to restart until May so its possible to take the main road between Borce and Urdos although it is quite narrow.
Snow is falling on the pyrenees at the moment and the col du Somport is closed to all traffic because of an avalanche so it is necessary to take the bus through the tunnel at the moment. He advised that the situation could change in the next few days, perhaps some more snow.

He is very helpful, i will contact him again when I am on the camino perhaps at Oloron-Sainte-Marie.
Good to hear. Glad he was helpful. When we were walking last May, there were also signs along the trail itself warning of the construction work.

Btw, there's some chance there'll still be snow at the Somport pass in April. You'll be about 700 feet / 220 meters higher than at the Col Lepoeder on the Frances. Also, the albergue at the pass didn't open until May 18 last year (I remember the specific date because we crossed on the 17th). But you just go with the flow . . .

On another thread, @WalkingInGers posted a link to a website for weather conditions at the pass: https://www.meteoblue.com/fr/meteo/webcams/col-du-somport_espagne_3108717.
 
Hello,
The construction site between Borce and Urdos is back until …
You can either
  • Take the bus at Etsaut to Urdos-Gare (or Urdos-Douane for the village) : Horaire Bus TER 55
  • Hitchhiking
  • Follow the (narrow) road to the tunnel to avoid the construction zone : Flog's thread
Normally this is the last year of construction for the area, and finally, a path will be opened between Borce and Urdos.
 

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