Spain’s government minister at the helm of Fomento (the ministry of Public Works), Íñigo de la Serna, was on the Costa del Sol on Thursday where one of his jobs was to lay the first stone of the works to build a new junction in Benalmádena.
The Arroyo de la Miel exit on the A-7, at kilometre point 222, is the main route into Benalmádena from the motorway and the scene of long tailbacks. Drivers travelling west who want to exit at this junction find themselves in long queues on the hard shoulder at the busiest times of day, a situation that has been aggravated by the summer holiday traffic.
The works that officially began on Thursday aim to solve the problem with a new two-lane slip road and a large roundabout, similar to the one at Plaza Mayor in Malaga.
With a budget of more than ten million euros, the works are expected to take around two years to complete. De la Serna announced on Thursday, however, that the firm contracted to carry out the work, Ferrovial, would try to reduce the time.
While this week has seen the symbolic start of the project, activity this summer will involve preliminary works, and the construction itself will get under way in October.
“It’s not a complex situation technically-speaking, because there are many junctions of this kind on our roads, but the volume of traffic complicates the work,” said the minister. This project, he admitted, had taken “a long time” to get off the ground, “perhaps too long”.
The ceremony on Thursday was attended by the central government’s representative in Malaga, Miguel Briones; MPs Celia Villalobos and Carolina España; the president of the provincial government, Elías Bendodo; the president of the Mancomunidad of the Western Costa del Sol, Margarita del Cid; and deputy mayors of Benalmádena and Torremolinos, Javier Marín and Maribel Tocón, respectively, as well as local councillors and business owners.
The works would mean “improvements in the quality of life of residents” said the minister and pointed out that this was the first project that provincial officials told him about when he became minister.
After the official ceremony the minister approached a small group of demonstrators who had been holding a banner demanding a fast solution. He asked them for patience after they explained their concerns about the delays in the scheme.