By Emma Mitchell •
Published: 10 Sep 2023 • 10:28
Alicante ring road congestion. Credit: Image by Freepik
There may be welcome relief for regular drivers of Alicante’s congested AP-70 ring road with plans currently under consideration by the government.
As reported today by Alicante Plaza, there is an option being looked at which would see the AP7 secondary ring road being ‘liberated’ of tolls for a 34 kilometre stretch from Monforte del Cid in order to ease congestion on the main ring road.
The AP-70 currently experiences significant congestion at early morning and late afternoon peak hours with commuter traffic from the city. Alicante City Council also cut off traffic along the coast road, putting further pressure on the main ring road.
It has been estimated that liberating the toll road so that more drivers use it would ease congestion on the AP-70 by 15 to 20 per cent.
The financing for maintenance of the AP7 road is covered by income from its tolls and it has been reckoned that, should the government liberate this stretch, taking over maintenance would require in the region of five million euros a year.
The AP7 was built and operated by Ciralsa, a company put together in 2004 explicitly for the project. However the road got much lower usage than expected and by 2013 the company was struggling and finally went into liquidation in 2017. At that point the government took over, but kept the toll structure in place.
During the discussions about ceasing tolls on the AP7 it has been pointed out that there would be no additional costs to the state since it had already been forced to write off the contract to the tune of 307 million euros when Ciralsa folded.
Alongside talks about the future of tolls on the AP7, there is discussion around investing to create a third lane on the AP-70 in sections that attract the most congestion. Currently the only action has taken place around the road to access the University of Alicante where 1.1 million euros was invested to widen access lanes and remove the need for vehicles accessing the San Vicente campus to use the roundabout.
A decision on whether the AP7 tolls will continue after January 2024 is expected in due course.
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Emma landed in journalism after nearly 30 years as an executive in the Internet industry. She lives in Bédar and her interests include raising one eyebrow, reckless thinking and talking to people randomly. If you have a great human interest story you can contact her on email@example.com
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