acesa General Manager, Josep Lluís Giménez, Operations Manager, Antoni Español, and Project and Works Manager, Josep Armengol, presented today in Tarragona the close of the project for widening the AP-7 motorway to three lanes in Tarragona, which has also involved the opening of the Mediterráneo (linking the AP-2 and the AP-7) to Vila-seca/Salou section.
Also present at this event, which took place at the Tarragona Chamber of Commerce the President of the Tarragona Chamber of Commerce, Albert Abelló.
With the finishing of the work on this third lane, the concession-holder is complying with the agreement arrived at with the administrations and institutions of the region and meets the deadlines set, opening, after only two years work, 92 kilometres of the third lane on the AP-7 running through Tarragona. Work on widening the Mediterráneo-Vila-seca/Salou began in the month of June, 2007.
Project promoted by Acesa since the 90s
Since the 90s, acesa had been insisting before various government administrations on the urgent need to carry out the project of enlarging the principle Mediterranean corridor. It was in April, 2006, when the agreement was finally signed by the Ministry of Public Works and acesa to approve the widening of the AP-7 over the 123 kilometres from La Jonquera to Vila-seca/Salou.
Work was planned with the objective of minimising impact on motorway traffic. The project was divided into two sections of 22.5 kilometres: Mediterráneo– Altafulla and Altafulla- Vila-seca/Salou. At the same time these two stretches were divided into subsections that were worked on in sequence. Two lanes in each direction – including the sections being worked on – were kept in operation at all times with the objective of reducing effects on the flow of traffic.
This system selected for doing the widening work made it possible to reduce the length of sections under construction and to ensure that they were opened for service gradually, thus putting them into service in a gradual and sustained manner. The opening of the third lane will make it possible to absorb a larger number of vehicles and to do so under better conditions of service for customers and users.
Acesa advances the dismantling of trunk barriers
The project in the region of Tarragona includes, in addition to the widening done on the stretch between the junction of the AP-2 with the AP-7 and Vila-seca/Salou, the introduction of a closed toll system from Martorell (Barcelona) to Vila-seca/Salou, which involves the redesigning of ten junctions and the subsequent elimination of the Mediterráneo, El Vendrell and Tarragona trunk barriers on the motorway.
The junctions that will be redesigned are: Martorell, Gelida, Sant Sadurní, Vilafranca Nord, Vilafranca Centre, Vilafranca Sud, Altafulla, Tarragona, Reus and Vila-seca Salou. The reconstruction projects are in various different stages of administrative processing.
Though the complete elimination of these trunk barriers will not take place until 2010, acesa brought forward the partial dismantling of these barriers to June, 2008. The El Vendrell southbound barrier was eliminated, along with the northbound Tarragona barrier. At the same time the number of lanes in service at each of the stations was increased in order to better handle the increased amount of traffic on the motorway following the widening to three lanes. This provisional adaptation made it possible to guarantee service capable of meeting the needs of the road until the trunk barriers are totally eliminated.
Parallel to this partial dismantling, at Altafulla three small trunk barriers were built on the different accesses to add to the already existing barrier, to adapt to the changes made at the El Vendrell and Tarragona stations. The number of traffic lanes available was increased at the Tarragona station, in the direction of Valencia, and at El Vendrell, in the direction of Barcelona.
The widening of the AP-7 in Tarragona is within the framework of the general project for widening the AP-7 motorway to three and four lanes, which includes a total of 123 kilometres. The AP-7 project in the province of Girona began last November and is progressing as expected on the section now under construction between Maçanet and Fornells.
acesa is investing a total of de 500 million euros in the widening project, of which 150 million euros are earmarked for work in Tarragona. This is a pioneer model of financing in established concessions, since the company is not resorting to toll increases or to an extension of the period of the concession to recover the investment made. The company is recovering the investment through the increase in traffic brought about by the widening of the lanes.