Highway extension debate divides election candidates in Barcelona metropolitan area 

Motorway known as 'Quart Cinturó' is hot topic of campaign in Vallès county 

A section of the B-40 near Terrassa
A section of the B-40 near Terrassa / Albert Segura

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

May 3, 2024 01:20 PM

May 3, 2024 01:30 PM

The potential extension of a highway in the Barcelona metropolitan area known as the 'Quart Cinturó' is the cause of debate among political parties in Vallès county. 

The highway, officially named the B-40, currently connects Abrera with Terrassa, having three lanes in each direction for most of its route. 

The B-40 was built in the 70's at the end of the Francoist dictatorship in Spain, a response to the estimated growth of the population in Vallès county, which hasn't matched with reality. Many people use that as an argument against the continuation of the project that they consider outdated and contrary to the principles of respect for the environment. 

To push the 2023 Catalan budget forward, governing Esquerra Republicana and the opposition Socialists compromised on extending the highway to Sabadell, with two lanes in each direction.  

The extension would leave the possibility of building the highway to Granollers open. 

Representatives in Vallès from pro-independence Esquerra Republicana, far-left CUP, and left-wing Comuns Sumar are not interested in the extension while the rest of the parties maintain the need to continue with the project to Sabadell, or even Granollers. 

Against the 'Quart Cinturó' 

"It shouldn't be done. There are alternatives, like improving the railway connections and the segregated bus lanes," Esquerra Republicana's Jordi Albert told the Catalan News Agency (ACN). 

"It doesn't make any sense. We need to go ahead with projects such as the railway line, which would meet the mobility needs of the people in Vallès," said Montserrat Vinyets from CUP. 

Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, and candidate for left-wing Comuns Sumar, Lluís Mijoler said the idea was "absurd and doesn't lead anywhere" in a time when energy consumption is being moderated and with the route not included in the Vallès county mobility plan. 

Pro highway extension 

The Socialists have not been silent in recent years about their desire to continue building the highway until Granollers. "It is an important project that generates different opinions," said Alícia Romero, number two on the Socialists' list for the elections. 

"Infrastructure must preserve the environment as much as possible, and we trust that will be the case because we have the best architects to develop projects like this," Romero added. 

Josep Rull from pro-independence party Junts says that "it doesn't make sense" to leave the B-40 like it currently is, stopping at a roundabout in Terrassa. He is in favor of expansion to accommodate daily traffic between municipalities. 

The People's Party considers it "essential" to continue the B-40 to Granollers. "A partial execution will not solve the problem it is supposed to solve. It must be concluded to facilitate mobility," Santi Rodríguez said. 

Ciudadanos also argues that the route should continue to Sabadell and ultimately Granollers. "It is infrastructure with a high value locally, which would benefit nearby residents and industries," Marina Bravo said. 

"It is incomprehensible that it has not been finished yet," far-right Vox representative Andés Bello said. "Talk of strange pacts" between the Spanish and Catalan governments is "not right," he said, adding that "the state must comply with its obligation to finish building the highway." 

New section opens

A new section of the B-40 ring road around Barcelona opened in February, after 17 years of construction.

The new 6km stretch of motorway has three lanes in each direction and connects Olesa de Montserrat with Viladecavalls.