In November 2014 the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre; the Andalusian government's provincial delegate, José Luis Ruiz Espejo; and the president of the Diputación provincial authority, Elías Bendodo, held a press conference at city hall to present the project for a wooden bridge which was to be built over the Guadalhorce estuary nature reserve. This was to be a part of the 'Senda Litoral' path, the project to connect the whole of the coastline from Nerja to Manilva for pedestrians and cyclists.
This week, three years and nine months later, the same politicians held another press conference in the same place to announce that the bridge project can now be put out to tender and the work can begin. In the intervening period there has been a long bureaucratic process which, said Ruiz Espejo, has meant that the plans remained in the hands of the Junta de Andalucía's ministry of the Environment from December 2015 to April this year, when the project was finally given the green light.
He admitted that this had taken a long time, but stressed that it had been complicated because the authorities had to be certain that the plans would not affect the sensitive natural environment at the the mouth of the Guadalhorce river. "The project is now fully guaranteed from the point of view of environmental protection," he said.
The mayor, Francisco de la Torre, announced that the city's Planning department would be putting the contract out to tender very soon and it should be awarded within two months, so the works could begin before the end of the year. They would take six months to complete. However, he also stressed that the construction could be quite complicated because the wooden bridge will have to be supported by concrete pillars.
The bridge, which will cross the easternmost branch of the river mouth, nearest the city, will be 270 metres long and three metres wide and will only be for walkers and cyclists. There will be seven sections in all, of which the central one will be the longest at 66 metres. The handrails will be curved to stop people climbing.
The bridge will be completed by a track 305 metres in length to connect it to the existing bridge over the other branch of the river. From this point, people will be able to continue towards the Guadalmar area. The total cost will be 1.9 million euros, paid equally by Malaga council and the provincial authority.
The longest in Europe
The president of the Diputación, Elías Bendodo, stressed that of all the parts of the long distance coastal pathway project along the Costa del Sol, this one is the most iconic and ambitious. "It is going to be the longest wooden bridge in Europe and it will link together 50 kilometres of coastline, from Chilches to Fuengirola," he explained. At present 150 kilometres of the 'Senda Litoral' can be used, which is about 80 per cent of the total.
The stretches in Malaga city which have yet to be completed are currently waiting for authorisation from the Junta. They are the area which runs past La Araña and others which connect Guadalmar with Torremolinos via Arraijanal and the Parador del Campo de Golf. The stretch by El Candado marina is currently in the study phase.