The Councillor for Development, Territorial Planning and Housing, Marifrán Carazo, visited the works on the section that will connect the Almanzora Dual Carriageway with the Mediterranean Dual Carriageway (A-7), which today completed a new milestone with the raising and placing of the beams of the main structure of the link between the two motorways. Marifrán Carazo highlighted the “good pace of the works”, which are 63 percent complete. “We are continuing step by step, keeping to the schedule so that by 2023 this section will be completed and in service,” she said.
Marifrán Carazo has regretted the “many disappointments suffered by the residents of the marble region with this dual carriageway, which has been plagued by delays, stoppages and non-compliance since work began 20 years ago”. The councillor insisted that all these dynamics “are things of the past” and that “it is being demonstrated, milestone by milestone, that this Andalusian government is serious in its intention to put an end to this odyssey that the construction of the Almanzora dual carriageway has entailed”. In this regard, he recalled that, since 2019, 50 million euros have been invested to execute the sections that were pending: Concepción-El Cucador, completed in October 2021, and El Cucador-A-7, which has been under construction since summer 2021.
The councillor insisted that “despite the increase in the price of materials, this work has continued its course” and that, once inaugurated, it will give real meaning to the Almanzora Dual Carriageway, which will have a direct connection with the Trans-European Network, one of the most important demands of the productive sector of the Almanzora Valley. In addition, the Regional Ministry of Public Works has also commissioned the necessary feasibility studies to determine the proposals for improving the connection of this dual carriageway with Fines and also with the province of Granada as far as Baza.
For his part, the mayor of Huércal-Overa, Domingo Fernández, emphasised the commitment of the Junta de Andalucía to the municipality, the region and our province, “with the connection of the Almanzora dual carriageway with the A-7, not only is communication between regions improved, giving greater fluidity to traffic, but new opportunities for local residents and industries are also made possible”.
The installation of these beams is one of the main milestones of the Cucador-A-7 section of the Almanzora dual carriageway. This structure will connect both dual carriageways in the direction of Murcia, after carrying out intense coordination work with the central government and the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) to minimise the effects on traffic on the A-7 and guarantee the service on a permanent basis. This junction, in fact, serves as a connection between the new A-334 dual carriageway and the A-7, and has a more complex typology, as it also includes the connection of the AL-7106 with both dual carriageways and with the service area located on the right-hand carriageway (towards Murcia) of the A-7.
The beams installed form part of the central span and are of large dimensions: 42 metres long, 2.12 metres wide and weighing 185 tonnes each. To move them from the Pacadar factory in Utrera (Seville), a convoy of more than 60 metres long was used. In addition, two 700-tonne cranes installed in the trunk of the motorway were used for assembly. To carry out the work, the trunk of the A-7 motorway had to be completely cut off for a maximum of 12 hours, and alternative routes were provided in the form of lateral detours that had been previously executed by the Regional Ministry. Once installed, in addition to the four 20-metre-long beams that have already been placed in the lateral spans, work will continue until the structure’s 82.8-metre-long deck has been completed.
Almanzora dual carriageway
The 3.6-kilometre section under construction was awarded at the end of July 2021 to the joint venture formed by the construction companies San José, Eiffage and Pérez Jiménez for 24 million euros. Two new junctions will be built along the route, at the beginning and at the end of the section. The route crosses the Barranco del Muerto ravine by means of a 45-metre viaduct.
Work on the trunk of the dual carriageway is practically finished. In fact, the clearing, excavation, clearing and backfilling work on the trunk of the new dual carriageway and on most of the branches has been completed almost in its entirety, as well as the installation of the five transversal drainage works planned for the trunk and all the necessary works on the branches and roads. In addition, base and intermediate layers have been laid on two large sections of the trunk road and asphalt has been spread on part of the Concepción junction area, as this route has been used for the new diversion of the Diputación road, which was recently opened to traffic.
Finally, in addition to the usual activities generated by the progress of the works, work has also begun on the replanting of tree species (in this case, olive trees), which have been transplanted to various areas of the previous section, after obtaining the corresponding formalities and authorisations.
The Almanzora dual carriageway was conceived in 1986, when its route was included in the General Road Plan for Andalusia as a section connecting the Mediterranean dual carriageway with the Seville-Granada dual carriageway, although without specific investment in various sections or a timetable. It was not until 2005 that the first stone was laid for this infrastructure, which was included in successive infrastructure plans with a commitment to its completion.
Far from completing the works, the Andalusian regional government included the Almanzora motorway in its adjustment plan to reduce the public deficit in 2010. In March 2012 the contract was signed, through a public-private partnership, for the construction, maintenance and operation of the section between Purchena and the A-7. The contract included the maintenance for 30 years from the start of the works of all the sections between Purchena and the A-7, those already in service and those which were then in the construction phase awarded to other companies. Years later, in 2018, the previous socialist government of the Junta took the political decision to terminate the contract with a compensation of 16.6 million euros.
Together with the regional minister, the delegate of the regional government in Almería, Aránzazu Martín; the general director of Road Infrastructures, Enrique Catalina; the general director of Urban Regeneration and Housing, Eloísa Cabrera; and the territorial delegate of Public Works in Almería, Carmen Belén López, attended the laying of the beam of this section of the Almanzora motorway.