The San Pedro Marbella Tunnel Finally Open

San Pedro - Marbella Tunnel Costa del SolThe Costa del Sol has finally rid itself of the last traffic black spot on its main roads network. On Tuesday night the first cars went through the long awaited San Pedro underpass that replaces the previous sets of traffic lights that held up traffic on the A-7. It is estimated that up to 70,000 vehicles will use the tunnel every day, relieved of the tailbacks that had become par for the course, especially with the avalanche of tourists in the summer months.

The Minister of Development, Ana Pastor, had the job on Tuesday evening of officially opening the tunnel just in time for one of the busiest weekends of the year in terms of tourist arrivals. She pointed out the “benefits” of the new infrastructure for tourism.
“Its very important that visitors find it easy to get in and out of the town”, she said adding that she hoped the road would maintain the same high average daily volume of traffic “because that generates wealth and employment, which is what we really need at this time”, she stressed.

The minister did recall that the works had been started by the former socialist minister Magdalena Álvarez, although she stressed that later construction had been interrupted. “The mayor asked me to come and to resume the work and that’s what we did,” she said reminding those present that she had kept her promise that the tunnel would be open before July.

Before the official unveiling of a kilometre marker post, a representative of the construction group gave some details of the mammoth project that is now complete. To sum up: a total cost of 85 million euros; a daily average of 45,000 to 70,000 vehicles; 5.7 million euros on safety measures; three roundabouts and “great difficulties in diverting traffic”.

Mayor Ángeles Muñoz expressed her thanks to the central government. “We know how long this work has taken and that it has been going on right in the centre of San Pedro and I am grateful to the minister for realising from the start that the work had to be completed before the summer”, she said.

Meanwhile Susana Díaz of the socialist Junta de Andalucía, pointed out that it had been “a socialist governments bid to improve traffic and the transport and communications system on the Costa del Sol that has made this possible”, stating that the tunnel “forms part of the legacy of Magdalena Álvarez, José Blanco and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero”.

“The end of five long years of suffering”

For the people of San Pedro Tuesday marked the end of 20 years demanding a solution to the traffic problem and five long years of works. Locals did not turn out en masse but some did go along to witness the opening, despite the strict security measures in place.

“I had to have this photo. We have been waiting five years”, said Fernando Garcés MD of Xcape to the Sun, he has taking this picture with his mobile phone, while driving.

“This is the start of a new chapter for business development in San Pedro. We are saying good bye to five years of roadworks, and many more of traffic jams. My satisfaction is not only as a business owner but also as a local resident. We are confident that everything will improve from now on and that commerce in San Pedro will recover”, she explained.

However it was not all smiles and congratulations to greet the minister. A group of local police officers, firefighters and cleaning staff had chosen the event to stage a protest at the cuts planned by the Town Hall.

They were not the only ones. Members of cycling associations had also seen the opening as the perfect opportunity to demand more cycle lanes.

Source: Sur in English