On 12 August, eight months ahead of schedule, Autopista del Sol (Ausol) will open the new toll road between Estepona and Guadiaro.
Cintra, a Ferrovial subsidiary, has a holding (75%) in Ausol, as do Europistas and Unicaja.
The stretch, measuring a total of 23 km and entailing an investment of 180mn, is the second toll road constructed and operated by Autopista del Sol in the province of Malaga: in 1996, this consortium, led by Cintra (Ferrovial), was awarded the 50-year concession for constructing and operating the Málaga-Estepona road, which measures a total of 83 km and involved an investment of about 450mn.
In June 2002, the Malaga-Estepona toll road recorded revenue up 14% on the same period the previous year to 12.2mn; traffic also increased 14% year-on-year to a daily average of 13,421 vehicles.
The opening of the new stretch, constructed by Ferrovial Agromán, rounds off 106 km of toll road, making it possible to drive from Málaga to Algeciras in just an hour and a half.
Málaga and Algeciras, 90 minutes apart
The Estepona-Guadiaro project passes through the Ronda hills and along the Mediterranean coast, between the Betic Cordillera and the north of Campo de Gibraltar. Owing to the rough terrain, seven massive bridges had to be built. Engineering feats of the project include the viaduct over the Enmedio river and four cut-and-cover tunnels, including the 880 m Pedro Jiménez tunnel. When constructing these tunnels, Ferrovial respected the environment, ensuring that countryside was restored to its original condition. The toll road also has three junctions.
Estepona-Guadiaro is the third toll road which Cintra (Ferrovial) has opened to traffic this year (after the M-45 in Madrid and the Artxanda tunnel in Bilbao). The Ferrovial concession division posted revenue up 34.8% to 203.6mn. Ferrovial is the world leader in concessions: through Cintra, it manages 15 toll roads in Spain, Portugal, Chile and Canada, with committed investments of 1.500bn. Through its concession division, Ferrovial also manages 12 airports and more than 180,000 parking spaces.
The extension to the former N-340, inaugurated today
The Minister of Development, Francisco Alvarez Cascos, inaugurated the extension. The project widens the former N-340 where it passes along the Malaga coast. Consisting of a 20 km toll-free stretch of road, it resolves the problems of this particularly difficult stretch of the road network in the Costa del Sol by making the flow of traffic much easier for the 25,000 drivers who pass along it daily. Drivers can now choose between a fast road through towns and the high-capacity four-lane toll road.
This new road is part of the Costa del Sol road network and goes through the municipalities of San Roque (in Cadiz) and Manilva, Casares and Estepona (in Malaga). It begins with the Torreguadiaro bypass, 2.7 km of new road enabling drivers to avoid this Cadiz town and the inherent traffic problems. The stretch, which begins at the Montilla roundabout, goes north-east to connect up with the old road where the 17.4 km extension of the N-340 begins. From this point, the new road runs along the old road, expanding its capacity.
There are 13 roundabouts and two junctions on the stretch of toll road, all of which facilitates access to the towns and developments along the way. The project also includes 3 bridges, two underpasses and the Torreguadiaro bypass.