Government launches 17m-euro plan to reduce motorway noise in Torremolinos and Marbella

Government launches 17m-euro plan to reduce motorway noise in Torremolinos and Marbella

Among other measures, screens covered in vegetation will be installed in a programme that aims to improve the lives of some 7,700 residents

Chus Heredia

Friday, 28 June 2024, 12:39

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It all starts with strategic noise maps. Road traffic is responsible for 80% of the excess noise in cities, as indicated in a city of Malaga study currently in progress. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies noise as any acoustic pollution above 65 decibels during the day or 55 at night or in sensitive locations like schools, hospitals, or other places.

Measures to reduce noise reaching nearby homes have been undertaken around motorways for decades. Sound barriers have become commonplace. Now, the Spanish transport ministry is undertaking two ambitious projects in Marbella and Torremolinos. The construction contracts and technical assistance to manage and certify the work exceed 17 million euros.

Marbella bypass

The latest contract has just been awarded to the alliance Tecsa Empresa Constructora and Vías y Construcciones for 13.1 million euros, including taxes. The contract, like the other two, is linked to the recovery, transformation and resilience plan, funded by Next Generation EU funds, as are the actions to adapt highway and motorway tunnels to strict European safety standards.

The section in question covers the stretch between kilometres 175+347 to 183+459, coinciding with the Marbella bypass. It is a section of the Costa del Sol motorway.

To reduce the noise by up to 15 dB, acoustic barriers will be installed. The project includes a total of 28 acoustic barriers with an approximate length of 6,612 metres and a surface area of 26,304 square metres, ranging in height from 2.5 to 4.5 metres.

These barriers will be metal screens combined with vegetation, where common ivy (Hedera Helix), a resilient species found locally, will be planted. The ivy will reach a height of 80 to 100 centimetres, with one unit planted every three square metres of acoustic screen, designed as a 'Green wall'.

Torremolinos route

A few months ago, the roads department awarded the same procedure for kilometres 227 and 299, between Los Álamos and the Palacio de Congresos in Torremolinos, also on the AP-7 on another section that has been freed up. The cost of the work amounts to 3.3 million euros including VAT and the completion period is 28 months. The construction partnership is Serveo Infraestructuras and Díez y Compañía.

This section is located at the junction of the MA-20 and the MA-21, which leads to the still public section of the motorway in Torremolinos.

Three structures will be erected: the first between kilometres 227.406 and 227.908 on the right bank of the dual carriageway, measuring 502 metres by 4.5 metres high, which means a total surface area of 2,259 square metres. The second will be located between milestones 227.908 and 228.600, also on the right side, measuring 692 metres by 4 metres and a surface area of 2,768 square metres. The third barrier, between kilometre points 227.772 and 228.420, in the same direction of travel, is 648 metres long by 3 metres high, giving a surface area of 1,944 square metres.

7,700 relieved residents

It is estimated that between the two projects, around 7,700 residents will benefit, according to the calculations in the technical document, which was drawn up at the time by the central government's research body, Cedex.

In addition to these two contracts, there is a third, worth 1.4 million euros for overseeing the works and certifying the acoustic results. Currently, there are 14 companies in the bidding process.

Reducing noise impact can also be achieved through speed calming measures, lane reductions, or even by using sound-absorbing asphalt, such as that which will be employed in the upcoming acoustic conditioning works of the Alcazaba tunnel in Malaga city.

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