Traffic jams are normal as people leave the city after a day on the beach. / migue Fernández

DGT urges drivers to use the A-356 to avoid weekend traffic jams on the Costa del Sol

It normally takes 15 minutes longer, but could be quicker for people returning from the beach because of the sheer volume of traffic on the A-7 dual carriageway

FRANCISCO JIMÉNEZ Malaga

The traffic authorities believe the A-356, or Carretera del Arco, is the solution to the traffic jams that build up on the exit roads from Malaga at weekends when people return from a day on the beach. This inland highway, which runs for 48.5 kilometres between Vélez-Malaga and Casabermeja, was originally built for the 1992 Expo in Seville, and was supposed to go as far as Marbella but was not completed because there is still no section between Casabermeja and Casapalma.

The Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) now wants to encourage drivers to use it on Sundays and public holidays this summer as an alternative to the A-7 and A-45, if they are heading to the northern side of Malaga or other provinces inland.

The route between Torre del Mar and the Puerto de las Pedrizas is four kilometres shorter on the Carretera del Arco (59 kms compared wih 63.2 on the A-7/A-45), but because it is single lane in each direction the journey takes 15 minutes longer: one hour and four minutes instead of 49 minutes. That is under normal circumstances: however, the traffic jams on the A-7 at Rincón de la Victoria or the area near the tunnels at Las Pedrizas can considerably lengthen the journey time on the faster road.

Nevertheless, there will be no official diversions. Drivers will always have the option to choose which route they take this summer, but the illuminated signs on the A-7 will remind them that there is an alternative way to exit Malaga and connect with Las Pedrizas motorway at Casabermeja. The measure will be in place until 11 September.