The regional government is to carry out improvement works on the A-397, which runs between San Pedro Alcántara and Ronda, to make it safer. Official figures show that it is one of the most dangerous in the province in terms of numbers of accidents. On average there have been 50 accidents a year during the past decade, with two fatalities a year. The A-397 is the main road to Ronda and nearby villages from the western Costa del Sol, and the works will affect 38 kilometres in the municipalities of Ronda, Parauta, Igualeja, Benahavís and Marbella.
The project, which has been put out to tender, is part of the Junta de Andalucía's action plan for road safety improvements, which is financed by EU Feder funds for the years 2014-2020. A large part of the works will involve structural repairs and resurfacing, and the total cost is expected to be around one million euros.
The A-397 is used by about 8,700 vehicles a day, of which five per cent are lorries, according to figures for 2016. Parts of it are in very bad condition, with stretches where the surface is loose and poses a risk to users.
A study carried out by the regional government shows that although the accident rate on this road has been generally high in the past ten years, the worst years were 2007 and 2016. During the period from 1 January 2007 to 19 November 2017 there were 569 accidents on the stretches of the road which are now to be improved, 18 of them with fatalities. In 2007 there were 83 accidents, and people died in four of them, and in 2016 there were 69 accidents (three of them with fatalities). In 2017 the number of accidents dropped to 49, with one fatality, but this is still unacceptably high.
Obviously not every accident is due to the state of the road, but inspections have shown that the surface is in bad condition in many parts and has disintegrated in some places. Technicians say the surface becomes very worn because of the number of vehicles which use this road, and this greatly affects safety. The repairs will use cold micro-agglomerates to create a better surface.