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Accidents are a common sight on the busy A-7 coast road (file image). SUR
Spanish government plans to scrap motorway tolls in Alicante but refuses to do so on the Costa del Sol
Transport

Spanish government plans to scrap motorway tolls in Alicante but refuses to do so on the Costa del Sol

It comes despite repeated requests from the town halls along the western strip of the Costa, the Diputación de Málaga provincial authority and the Partido Popular political party to make the AP-7 free until the coastal rail project is implemented

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Tuesday, 28 May 2024, 10:29

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The Spanish government has agreed to scrap tolls on a motorway in Alicante, but has refused to drop the charges on the Costa del Sol.

Spain's Minister of Transport Óscar Puente announced his department is already studying the possibility of making the AP-7 motorway around Alicante free, while rejecting requests to do the same on the AP-7 in Malaga province from town halls on the western strip of the Costa del Sol, the Diputación de Málaga provincial authority and the Partido Popular political party.

The Ministry of Transport is planning to make the toll on the AP-7 motorway in Alicante free of charge as soon as possible, with the aim of relieving traffic on the A-70 motorway as it passes through the provincial city. During a conference at the Alicante Forum, the minister admitted the ring road around the city is full of congested accesses and constant traffic has caused the road to have a "worrying" accident rate.

"I have proposed this with the ministry and, unless I run into some legal problem with the treasury, it is reasonable that we free the tolls on the AP-7 and allow this transfer of traffic from the A-70 to the AP-7," Puente said.

It's been met with frustration in Malaga, where all attempts to address this issue on the AP-7 have been met, until now, with a "no" for an answer.

Similarities and differences

The public highways to which both motorways serve as alternatives have elements in common, but also important differences. Among the similarities is the traffic, which in both cases reaches 100,000 vehicles of average daily traffic (ADT). In addition, there are the numerous differences on both motorways, which cause many accidents.

The biggest differences are in the length of the road and the price, both of which go hand in hand. In the case of Alicante, the road is 33 kilometres long and the cost of using it is 1.40 euros for cars.

On the AP-7 in Malaga, the route is much longer, 82.7 kilometres only for the part that goes to San Pedro Alcántara (with a free section, passing through Benalmádena), and the fare ranges from 5.25 to 8.60 euros (to Marbella in the low season).

There is yet another, more subtle, similarity between the two. In Alicante, the scrapping of tolls on the motorway will be carried out until the third lane of the A-70 ring road becomes a reality, a project that is on the table for the long term, at a cost of 400 million euros. Getting rid of tolls on the AP-7 makes it possible to resolve the traffic congestion on the A-70, while work is being done on the third lane.

In Malaga, the request has the same basis, although it is much more ambitious (and costly): it is to make the motorway free, as a way of improving mobility on the coast while the long-demanded coastal train project is planned and implemented.

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