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Old Yesterday, 07:42 PM   #7141
Highway89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I've been looking at the Somport Tunnel on the border with France (N-330) in Huesca province.

As a fun fact, it is the longest untolled tunnel in the EU at 8.6 kilometers. It opened to traffic in 2003.

The construction was met with protest on the French side who feared it would open up a big truck transit route through the Pyrenees. However these fears have proven untrue, in fact the whole tunnel construction may have not been necessary considering the extremely low volume of traffic.

There are contradicting traffic count statistics, which may have to do with seasonal influences.

According to DIR Atlantique, the average traffic volume in 2016 was 1243 vehicles per day. But according to Fomento, the average traffic volume in 2015 was only 213 vehicles per day. In 2014, 205 vehicles per day were recorded in the tunnel.

It is possible that the tunnel attracts more traffic in the winter due to the ski resorts on the Spanish side of the tunnel. Maybe the Spanish figures are summer traffic counts and French figures are winter traffic counts or not seasonally adjusted.

However either way, the amount of traffic through the Somport Tunnel is extremely low, it's questionable if a € 250 million investment was worth its money for only either 200 or 1200 vehicles per day.
According to the Observatorio de Tráfico en los Pirineos, the AADT for light vehicles was 739 vpd in 2014. Even the Bielsa-Aragnouet tunnel, or the Pourtalet pass have higher volumes, despite the fact that they aren't national roads:
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Old Yesterday, 07:50 PM   #7142
ChrisZwolle
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AV-20 Ávila

A-51 has been renumbered to AV-20, evidently it has been done in the last year, since 2016 Street View still has A-51. They also changed the exit numbering.

AV-20 is a 10 kilometer autovía around the city of Ávila, it is an extension of AP-51.

Perhaps this renumbering is an indication that the originally planned A-51 from Soria to Plasencia (N-110 replacement) will never materialize...


AV-20-1 by European Roads, on Flickr


AV-20-2 by European Roads, on Flickr


AV-20-3 by European Roads, on Flickr


AV-20-4 by European Roads, on Flickr


AV-20-5 by European Roads, on Flickr


AV-20-6 by European Roads, on Flickr
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Old Yesterday, 08:09 PM   #7143
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A similar case is the 5-km long A-13 in Logroño, which was planned to be a 100-km long motorway to Soria, following the current N-111. It was a very unrealistic plan. Traffic figures don't justify it and it'd be an environmental disaster. It should be renumbered to LO-11.
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Old Yesterday, 09:08 PM   #7144
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AFAIK A-51 was never planned, only AP-51. And Fomento originally intended A-13 to be a Pamplona-Logroño motorway, but Navarre chose to extend A-12 instead (and they also didn't connect it to A-13, instead ending its section downstream).

Another thing are the now unrelated A-41 and AP-41. The former, which runs from Ciudad Real to Puertollano, was originally intended to be a toll-free section of the latter, which was planned to run from Arroyomolinos (SW of Madrid) all the way to Montoro (E of Cordoba) as an alternate to A-4. But then the section South of Toledo was cancelled due to a negative EIA, leaving two totally unrelated motorways with the same number. Personally I'd change A-41 to A-43 (since the Western section of the latter is planned to run along EX-104 and through Almaden instead of along N-430) and demolish AP-41 altogether (), even if that leaves this country with no motorways with my favorite number. The cancellation also severely delayed a sorely needed section of A-40, the missing link between Toledo and Ocaña, which was to run concurrent with AP-41 across the Tagus river. N-400 carries a large amount of traffic, I don't remember the exact figure now.
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Old Today, 12:26 AM   #7145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
That sounds plausible. According to Wikisara, the Somport Tunnel was under construction from 1994 to 2003, which is relatively long. The 1999 Mont Blanc Tunnel fire caused significant changes to tunnel safety approach and many projects in development had to be redesigned (for example A507 in Marseille).

What would help for traffic on French N134 is a straight extension of A65, west of Pau and east of Oloron-Sainte-Marie. This will significantly reduce travel time, the current N134 is a low-standard road in that area, with a lot of development around it and many roundabouts, coupled with high traffic volumes.

South of Oloron, there isn't much traffic at all.
Safety management is quite hard indeed.
I know one person who worked on tunnel management and told me about it. They do not have only periodic checks but a strong standard for trucks.

They are considered 1-5 according to danger. Most dangerous freights can cross tunnel only from 3:00 to 4:00. Tunnel must be down in both directions and truck must cross it with a firetruck besides.
Downer levels have downer restrictions. For instance, 1 requires no more than five trucks at same time AFAIK, and so on. I do not remember the level, I think it is 3, where they have to cross five trucks together with a firetruck but not down to traffic.


Another issue... each country manages fines in each territory. This is, speed is minimum 60, maximum 80. If you drive over it (or downer 60) you will receive two fines, one for French side and another one for Spanish side
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Old Today, 09:15 PM   #7146
ChrisZwolle
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I took a two-week vacation in Spain. It was extremely hot, with temperatures in the high 30s almost every day, on some days even exceeding 40 °C. I wanted to go to Madrid but it was 42 °C, that's a bit too much. So I traveled from mountain range to mountain range, first in the Pyrenees, then to the Teruel/Castellón/Valencia area, then to the Sierra de Gredos west of Madrid and then to Picos de Europa, where it was also 37 °C. Then I went to the Basque Coast but the forecast for Bilbao was also 37 °C while the average June high in Bilbao is only 23 °C.

So I traveled quite a bit of distance, 6680 kilometers in total from the Netherlands to Spain and back. I clinched many new routes.

What struck me though, was that many foreigners think almost all of Spanish motorways are tolled. I got the 'you must've paid a lot of tolls' question several times. Most tourists don't flock beyond Catalonia, Basque Country and a few other tourist areas which happen to have most of Spanish toll roads.

But in fact the only toll road I took was AP-8 from Bilbao to Irun. All other distance was untolled.



(the map does not show every single road I've driven, I drove many regional roads in those mountain ranges).
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Old Today, 09:28 PM   #7147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I took a two-week vacation in Spain. It was extremely hot, with temperatures in the high 30s almost every day, on some days even exceeding 40 °C. I wanted to go to Madrid but it was 42 °C, that's a bit too much. So I traveled from mountain range to mountain range, first in the Pyrenees, then to the Teruel/Castellón/Valencia area, then to the Sierra de Gredos west of Madrid and then to Picos de Europa, where it was also 37 °C. Then I went to the Basque Coast but the forecast for Bilbao was also 37 °C while the average June high in Bilbao is only 23 °C.

So I traveled quite a bit of distance, 6680 kilometers in total from the Netherlands to Spain and back. I clinched many new routes.

What struck me though, was that many foreigners think almost all of Spanish motorways are tolled. I got the 'you must've paid a lot of tolls' question several times. Most tourists don't flock beyond Catalonia, Basque Country and a few other tourist areas which happen to have most of Spanish toll roads.

But in fact the only toll road I took was AP-8 from Bilbao to Irun. All other distance was untolled.



(the map does not show every single road I've driven, I drove many regional roads in those mountain ranges).
Pretty nice trip. By the way, do you know any good way of recording all those routes in a systematic and vectorial map? Google maps sucks.

Well, I would say there is for sure some sort of correlation -but not exactly causation- between the tolled roads in Spain and the touristic areas. For sure, many of the oldest motorways built under the traditional tolled system are as well in the more developed regions of the country, which were at the same time the closest ones to the French border and popular destinations for foreigner visitors. Then, you can think as well that those motorways are just there for milking foreigners who get into Spain (). But considering that the two main connections to France are tolled, it is "logical" that people may think so. As you say, you can't see many foreigners plates far from the coasts...
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