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A section of the A-356 road as it passses past Vélez-Málaga. E. Cabezas
Local and regional administrations at loggerheads over widening of A-356 road in Vélez-Málaga
Infrastructure

Local and regional administrations at loggerheads over widening of A-356 road in Vélez-Málaga

Roadworks to turn a section of the road into a dual carriageway are still in the pipeline despite the problem worsening since work to the Camino de Torrox has meant the closure of the second A-7 motorway exit

Eugenio Cabezas

Vélez-Málaga

Monday, 24 June 2024, 23:09

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The problem of traffic jams on the Vélez-Málaga ring road, the A-356 or Carretera del Arco, on the eastern stretch of the Costa del Sol, are far from new. They have been recurring for years, as a result of the increase in traffic on this road which connects with Alhama de Granada, especially on the six-kilometre stretch from the junction of the A-7 motorway to El Trapiche, just north of Vélez.

In recent months the situation has worsened as a result of the works currently underway to remodel the Camino de Torrox, which have meant that the other exit from the A-7 to Vélez and Caleta de Vélez has been closed off.

As such traffic jams are kilometres long between the different roundabouts, especially at peak times, coinciding with school start and finish times and people commuting to work. Added to the problem is the number of lorries coming to and from the Parque Tecnoalimentario, which is home to twenty companies, including Trops subtropical fruit cooperative.

No progress

The project to widen this section of road has been delayed for more than a decade and public promises have not been kept. The Andalusian regional government is responsible for its execution. Both the previous socialist and the current PP governments have promised it, but so far no date has been set for the project.

In mid-2022, the regional administration reactivated the project, valued at almost 30 million euros, with the opening of the public information period of the environmental authorisation of the project. Since then, no further progress has been made. According to the documentation, the project, drawn up by María Dolores de la Rúa, under the direction of Fernando Vílchez in December 2012, and revised seven years later, in December 2019, would entail an investment of 29.8 million euros.

The project includes the widening of the current two-way road along a stretch of almost six kilometres, from the junction with the A-7 Mediterranean motorway to the junction at El Trapiche.

Last September mayor of Vélez-Málaga, Jesús Lupiáñez (PP) met with the Junta’s spokesperson for development, planning and housing, Rocío Díaz. The aim of the meeting was to reactivate the project, the tender and the execution of the widening of the A-356 and the two politicians met again last week. They discussed the environmental impact report and announced that the budget will be increased to 40 million euros.

Improved communication with Alhama de Granada

The Mayor of Alhama de Granada (in Granada province), Jesús Ubiña (PP), with whom Lupiáñez had already met a few weeks ago, was also present at the previous meeting. The two councillors want to improve communication between Vélez-Málaga and Alhama de Granada, and the widening of the A-356, which would have two lanes in each direction, "would be a vital work to promote it and reduce the time between the two municipalities," acknowledged Lupiáñez.

At the meeting, an improvement plan was also requested for the A-402, which connects the Boquete de Zafarraya with Axarquía, "also a fundamental work in improving communications", according to the mayor of Velez.

As SUR has learnt, one of the issues being negotiated between the town hall and the Junta and which is causing differences of opinion is the possible layout of the two new lanes. The regional administration is in favour of widening the road on the side closest to the town centre, which is owned by Vélez-Málaga town hall, which would affect public areas such as the cycle lane and part of the green corridor built in recent years.

However, according to the town hall, on the other side, in the direction of Torre del Mar, those affected would be private individuals who have businesses such as nurseries, delaying the project even further.

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