Spain's Election Campaign Launch Coincides with Major Road Safety Upgrades

Spain's Election Campaign Launch Coincides with Major Road Safety Upgrades

Spain's Election Campaign Launch Coincides with Major Road Safety Upgrades

Madrid, May 27, 2024 — Last Thursday marked the commencement of Spain's campaign for the European Parliament elections, an event historically characterized by low voter turnout despite the substantial impact of EU decisions on numerous aspects of daily life. One such area is the enhancement of road tunnel safety, an initiative that has seen a surge in publicly-funded contracts in recent months.

A prime example of these efforts is the Costa del Sol motorway in Malaga province, which has been at the forefront of adapting to new, stringent European safety regulations. The AP-7 motorway, managed by Ausol, has undergone significant upgrades to its ten tunnels along a 105-kilometer stretch, with an investment exceeding 30 million euros. This makes it the first road in Spain to fully comply with the EU's enhanced safety standards.

Extensive Safety Enhancements

The comprehensive upgrade process, spanning four years and coinciding with the pandemic, represents the largest financial commitment by Ausol since the motorway's construction. The work was conducted while the motorway remained operational, adding complexity to the project.

The tunnels on the AP-7, each uniquely named, have been equipped with new fire-resistant electrical installations, advanced ventilation systems, and additional sensors to monitor pollutant levels. Enhanced linear heat detection systems and a public address system have also been installed to improve emergency response capabilities.

The project introduced an Automatic Incident Detection (AID) system utilizing CCTV cameras, new variable signaling equipment, and access barriers to manage emergency closures. Upgraded SOS call points and specialized drainage systems for toxic liquid spillages further bolster safety measures.

"We are at the forefront of road safety in Spain," stated Juan Marchini, Ausol's general manager. "These improvement works significantly enhance the safety guarantees for our users, ensuring faster and more efficient management of incidents."

Continued Investment Across Malaga Province

In addition to the AP-7 upgrades, the Spanish Ministry of Transport has allocated EU Next Generation funds towards further enhancements. Recent contracts include a 4.5 million euro investment for upgrades to five more tunnels in Malaga province, including emergency doors, new lighting, and ventilation systems.

The Casabermeja tunnels on the A-45 and the false tunnel of Carlos Haya on Malaga city's west ring road will see critical improvements such as fire-resistant wiring and new emergency call points. Additional work includes new road markings, pedestrian walkways, and upgraded signposting.

Moreover, a 7.5 million euro budget has been dedicated to the San José and Cerrado de Calderón tunnels, with further work planned for other key areas around Malaga.

Nationwide Upgrades Underway

Spain's general road network, encompassing approximately 200 tunnel structures, is undergoing a nationwide upgrade to comply with European regulations. The Ministry of Transport directly manages 160 of these structures, while the remaining 40 are on toll motorways. The ten tunnels on the Autopista del Sol are the first to complete the adaptation process.

This extensive investment and commitment to road safety improvements coincide with the launch of the election campaign, highlighting the critical role of EU funding and regulations in enhancing infrastructure and public safety across Spain.

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