Motorway ends meet to connect Malaga and Almeria
After more than 25 years of construction, the Autovía del Mediterráneo is finally complete and at last honours its name by connecting the entire Mediterranean coast from La Jonquera in Catalonia to Algeciras in Cadiz province.
The final stretch to be completed was between the Granada towns of Carchuna and Castell de Ferro, barely ten kilometres apart, which alone has cost the taxpayer 164.54 million euros.
When the first stone was laid in 2002, the original date for completion was set for 2008, but the project has been set back by various complications, owing to the complexities of the terrain which the motorway has to negotiate.
This part of the A-7, which has had to cross mountainous terrain very close to the sea, has a complex network of bridges, tunnels and viaducts.
It suffered a major setback on 8 November 2005 when six construction workers were killed as part of a viaduct over the Verde river, in Almuñécar, collapsed.
However, on Wednesday, some seven years behind schedule, the prime minister Mariano Rajoy was present to declare the road open.
He admitted that the project was “one of the most complicated” carried out in Spain in recent times but that it had “enormous importance” for the people of Andalucía, in particular.
Minister of Public Works Ana Pastor backed up the words of the prime minister, saying:“It is of great strategic importance to have Andalucía connected; both for the region and the nation’s road network.”
In fact, it will cut the journey time from Malaga to Almeria to less than two hours and will give an enormous boost to the region’s economy by facilitating the flow of tourists from the Granada coastline to Malaga province.
The agricultural sector will also receive a huge boost, especially in the Axarquía, where connections will be improved with the Costa Tropical and western Almeria, two of the country’s leaders in greenhouse agriculture and the cultivation of subtropical fruits.source surinenglish