Cars queue to leave the road at the San Pedro and Ronda road exit. Josele-Lanza
The new San Pedro underpass has solved one of the province’s age-old traffic problems, but not without creating another one. The famous jams formed by vehicles passing through San Pedro on the A-7 towards Algeciras are now a thing of the past. The changes, however, have made life a little more difficult for the local people as the exit from the A-7 into San Pedro has been reduced to one lane, creating hold-ups, especially at rush hour.
The problem has got worse with the extra tourist traffic in the area since the beginning of July. After all, this one lane is used by drivers heading not just to the centre of San Pedro, but also to the industrial estate, the Ronda road, the south side of the town and the beach. This one lane comes out at a roundabout with no traffic lights.
Local man Miguel Caracuel is one of the many drivers to have been caught in the chaos: “Today I hit the traffic jam at around one thirty and it took us 20 minutes to reach the roundabout”, he explains.
A lack of foresight by the planners of the new road layout has turned this junction into a bottleneck. Last weekend the tailbacks stretched as far as Puerto Banús. The situation has even started affecting through traffic to Algeciras as the waiting cars block one of the two lanes heading into the tunnel.
On Tuesday the Mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, announced that this week she was due to have a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Development to discuss the traffic reorganisation in the tunnel area. One of the items on the agenda will be the need to extend the San Pedro slip roads.
Muñoz stressed that the Town Hall had warned of the problem as far back as 2008 when the Ministry was informed of the need to alter the slip roads to avoid tailbacks.
“Given recent events and the volume of traffic we cannot allow a project that has cost so much money and effort to end in bottlenecks and hold-ups on the road into San Pedro, one of our main tourist destinations”, said Muñoz on Tuesday.
The issue had already been broached at a council meeting at the end of last week. The spokesperson for the San Pedro and Nueva Andalucía municipal group, OSP, called for a solution, proposing that the exit slip road be extended so that cars start to leave the main carriageway at the Guadaiza bridge.
“In that way cars can turn off sooner, without getting in the way of traffic heading for the tunnel”, explained Rafael Piña.
Proposals also included allowing both lanes on the roundabout to be used by traffic heading for San Pedro or Ronda, whereas now one of the lanes is reserved exclusively for Nueva Andalucía traffic.
At this week’s meeting with the Ministry, another of the items on the agenda was to finalise details of the roundabouts at the junctions with Marqués del Duero and Las Petunias.
The mayor also said this week that she planned to meet with the Junta de Andalucía to suggest widening the end of the Ronda road (A-376) to a dual carriageway from the industrial estate to the junction with the A-7.