New B-40 ring road stretch opens for traffic 17 years after construction began

6km stretch of motorway inaugurated on Friday as administrations say road will be extended

Access to the B-40 tunnel
Access to the B-40 tunnel / Albert Segura
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Abrera

February 16, 2024 03:26 PM

February 16, 2024 05:29 PM

A new section of the B-40 ring road around Barcelona was opened on Friday, with the first vehicles driving on it from noon.

The new 6km stretch of motorway has three lanes in each direction and connects Olesa de Montserrat with Viladecavalls, and is now open after 17 years of construction

Spain's minister of transport, Óscar Puente, opened the new route and announced an agreement between the Spanish and Catalan governments to continue expanding the highway from Terrassa to Sabadell.

However, no deadline has been set for such works, as the minister warned that it is necessary to find the right fit between a high-capacity road and an urban patrol model.

An investment of €293 million was given by the transport ministry to finish the project between Olesa de Montserrat and Viladecavalls. 

"It was necessary to connect the two counties Vallès Occidental and Baix Llobregat, the industrial engine of Catalonia, with a road on which we estimate that around 43,000 vehicles will pass daily, with 20% of heavy traffic," Puente explained. 

This, he claims, will mean a reduction of 28,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the first year, given that it will shorten journey times. "To go from Sabadell to Bruc, the journey will be cut by 13 kilometers and 10 minutes," he said, adding "they will undoubtedly do so in a much safer manner."


17 years construction

Works on the B-40 road have suffered numerous delays over the years, caused in part by some economic crises that meant postponing parts of the project.

The biggest issue came in 2019 after slips in the work resulting from heavy rains were detected.

Authorities looked into several alternatives before it was decided to create three viaducts and to reinforce different points with steel braces. It took three years for construction to resume after this. 

Plans for the B-40 road in its entirety do not stop here. The next phase is to connect Terrassa and Sabadell, a section known as Ronda Nord. 

Some political parties, such as the governing Catalan party Esquerra Republicana, have voiced their opposition to the extension of the motorway, while others, such as the Socialists, believe the works should go even further, to Granollers. 

This Friday, however, Óscar Puente confirmed the pre-agreement with the Catalan government, controlled by Esquerra, to continue with the Terrassa-Sabadell section.

"The transport ministry will contribute around €200 million and the Catalan government will draw up the project," he explained. The road, however, will be owned by the Spanish administration.