It’s Here

Front Page(This article was originally published in August 2009 and is visible now so that readers can look at what was happening on the Costa Tropical back then.)

For Almuñécar the road-borne misery is over… or is it? This summer, the Taramay roundabout could be very congested, with cars coming off the autovía to join the N-340 and meeting heavy traffic coming from Salobreña – normally in the form of tailbacks.

Will there be a need for traffic lights, or will there be traffic policemen directing the traffic at weekends, as there are on the Granada/Motril junction?

Perhaps we are just worrying over nothing. After all, there was no such problem when the La Herradura section first opened.

Every politician was at the opening, and eager to appear in the photos for the occasion, of course, but there was also an undercurrent of criticism, barely audible but present, nevertheless.

When all the back slapping was over, cameras quenched and pieces of coloured band from the ceremonial tape-cutting session safely stuffed away in pockets, I went down to the new ‘end’ of the motorway – to where it petered out. I was gob-smacked! There’s nothing there, just a pile of earth and the next valley, unblemished by the least sign of motorway activity.

How, I asked myself, does the Central Government intend to keep its promise to have the Taramay-Lobres (Salobreña) section finished by the end of 2011? It took six years to build the La Herradura-Taramay section! But, anyway, this article is about the section that was inaugurated yesterday (28th July), so let’s stick to that.

Technical information: the section is 9.12 kilometres long, half of which is made up of viaducts (bridges) and tunnels, which is some indication of the engineering difficulties overcome.

The Cantalobos tunnel, for instance, is just over two kilometres long, but really we’re talking about two; one in each direction, giving a total of 4.3 kilometres of tunnel. The longest bridge is the one over Barranco de la Cuesta, which is 651 metres long. The total cost of this project was just under 240m euros.

Possible problems: first of all, the difficult nature of the topography involved means that in some places the elevated sections of road are standing on compressed earth banks some 50 metres high. Nowhere is that most evident than when a motorist leaves the autovía to descend to the Taramay junction. The access road, has the same feel to it as the stretch of road leading west from La Caleta de Salobreña, up the hill towards Hotel Salobreña: a steep, twisting two-lane climb.

Many believe that it is a recipe for disaster, especially as this access road was inaugurated without any overhead lighting!

The second dubious point is the storm water drainage system, which apparently channels all the storm water into the same valley, whereas before the natural drainage spread it more evenly – we’re talking about Río Jate, by the way.

Lastly, as mentioned on the Front Page, during this August at least and the next two summers, if the Government keeps to its promise, the Taramay roundabout is going to be horribly congested. The traffic jams coming from Torrenueva are joined by the stream of traffic coming down from Granada and both are funnelled towards Taramay.

On the bends from Hotel Salobreña until you reach the Taramay roundabout, there is virtually nowhere to overtake. This sad procession will meet with all the east-bound traffic, flowing off the autovía at Taramay… let’s hope the roundabout junction is up to dealing so much traffic. Or will the motoring misery continue as before… just elsewhere.

(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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