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Heavy Weekend Traffic on the Costa del Sol

News date: Friday, 09th of July, 2004

It is 7 p.m. on a Sunday evening on Las Pedrizas motorway, the road carrying all the traffic to the north from the city of Malaga. Thousands of people are heading for home after a weekend by the seaside. But they come almost inevitably face to face with a hold-up: two cars have crashed and a bus has broken down and the two incidents together slow the traffic down almost to a standstill, in other words there is a traffic jam. Within a couple of hours the tailbacks are so long that they have reached all the way back to the city and affect the ring road.

This could well be the typical situation at the start or end of a holiday period, such as last weekend. But it wasn’t. The above situation occurred on June 27th. It was a Sunday, it is true, but it was not a bank holiday weekend and neither was it the start or finish of a holiday period. But the traffic on the roads in the province of Malaga at weekends in the summer has reached the point now at which it is as heavy as on special dates, say the Provincial Traffic Authorities.

And the statistics prove that they are right. Las Pedrizas motorway, the A-45, carried 62,487 vehicles on Friday June 25th, just as the summer was starting. In other words the worst is still to come. If these figures are compared with the previous big bank holiday ones (Easter), the results are highly revealing. The A-45 carried 62,457 vehicles on Wednesday in Easter Week, when many people were starting their holiday, in other words 30 fewer than on the last Sunday in June.

The arrival of the hot weather encourages everyone to take to the road. But the dream of a break beside the sea is shattered by the nightmare of a Sunday spent on the tarmac. Hoteliers and travel agencies have been saying for some time that there is a growing trend for people to take their holidays in two halves instead of a whole month at a time. Bookings in recent months have shown that Spanish tourists usually stay for two nights, generally Friday and Saturday, when they come to the Costa del Sol for the weekend. This is instead of the traditional stays lasting a fortnight or a month.

The tourist industry hopes that visitors will carry on breaking up their holidays into weeks or days, but this is one factor that makes the traffic worse. “Every Sunday in summer the volume of traffic on main roads in the afternoon and evening grows constantly”, points out Malaga provincial traffic chief Luis Lorenzo.

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