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Editorial

Marbella council delays remodelling approach roads til after the summer

News date: Wednesday, 21st of July, 2004

The plan includes roundabouts and part of a busy street, Calle Serenata, being turned into an underpass

Plans to remodel the approach roads to Marbella will remain tucked away in a drawer until the summer season is over.

The massive arrival of holiday-makers, many in their own vehicles, means that one of the council’s most ambitious schemes, aimed at relieving traffic congestion on two main access roads to the town, will now be delayed until after high season.

The spots in question are where the Avenida del Trapiche and the Ojén road cross the Avenida Arias Velasco (the old ring road) and the road through the centre of Marbella. Despite the fact that the company carrying out the first piece of infrastructure, the Trapiche roundabout, has already been contracted, the council has decided to postpone the start of work until the end of September or the beginning of October.

This emergency plan, with a budget of five and a half million euros, includes an underpass beneath part of Calle Serenata, one of the busiest streets in the centre and the one used to get to the shopping centre in the north of the town. This work will, in the opinion of Isabel García Marcos, the councillor for Strategic Schemes, Harbours and Infrastructure, put an end to the blacks spots for congestion. “No real studies have been made of the volume of traffic on these roads, but we do see the problems there”, says the councillor.

The first piece of work planned is the roundabout on the Avenida del Trapiche, which links the bus station and the residential area of Xarblanca. “We want to finish it before Christmas and in that time, too, put the Calle Serenata underpass out to tender; that piece of work is planned to take nine months”. With the underpass in place drivers who only want to enter or leave the town via the Ojén road will not have to wait at two sets of traffic lights as at present. Roundabouts will be built to regulate the rest of the traffic at the points where traffic lights now stand.

“This is an extremely nice scheme, which has been drawn up by the Town Hall engineers, and it will be a way of curbing public expenditure”, stresses the councillor from the Socialist group of the three-party coalition running the Town Hall. In fact the financing of both schemes (the Calle Serenata one is the more expensive, costing 4.6 million euros) has not yet been settled. García Marcos is knocking on all doors in an effort to obtain subsidies. “But if we don’t get the necessary financing we will pay for the schemes out of the municipal coffers”, she adds.

She has, for instance, reminded the Andalusian Government that the Ojén road comes under that authority and that it should, therefore, meet part of the cost of the Calle Serenata underpass. With regard to the roundabout on the Avenida del Trapiche, she believes that it should have been paid for by Ausol, the company which built, and is running, the toll motorway and the access roads from it to the town.

Technical experts are still studying the viability of a big change to the Avenida Ricardo Soriano, with a long underpass, which would mean the above-ground road could be turned into a grand boulevard.

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