Spain to invest over €1bn in Catalonia’s main highways
Improvements on AP-7 and AP-2 roads to avoid 6.3 million hours of traffic jams each year
Catalonia’s main highways, AP-7 and AP-2, will receive an economic boost from the Spanish government during the next seven years, as the country’s transport minister Raquel Sánchez announced on Friday morning during a visit to Barcelona.
Both roads are managed by the executive and the investment would allow users to save €750 million but also time.
"We expect to reduce traffic jams suffered by AP-7 and AP-2 highway users by 6.3 million hours of queues each year," Sánchez said.
Improvements would open 42 different public contracts across 224 kilometers with the goal to offer new connectivity options and increase the capacity of the highways.
The first investment of €52.6 million will go towards enhancing already existing connections between roads. The government will place €75.9 million more to build new ones.
It will be the capacity and functionality of the improvements in the different highways that will take the vast majority of the funding, as the cabinet expects to use €687 million.
The goal is to change the general functioning of both main Catalan roads as they are currently at their "maximum capacity," Xavier Flores, the ministry’s infrastructure secretary general.
Since tolls were lifted on August 31, 2021, almost one year ago, traffic congestion in the AP-2 has doubled, while trucks’ have increased their presence by three. On the other road, AP-7 has seen a 40% increase in traffic and 80% more trucks.
"What we want to do is to transform AP-7 and AP-2 to make them more resilient and secure," Flores said.
"It cannot be the case that when we have an accident or a truck has a tire puncture, everything collapses and we have traffic jams of dozens of kilometers, we have to have a road able to surpass all these issues," he added.