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Old June 23rd, 2017, 11:12 AM   #7121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alserrod View Post
It is quite strategic for Spain due to there are two ski resorts there...

As said, it is the lowest mountain pass in Central Pyrenees. Atila crossed there with elephants against Rome and St.James lane goes there too.
In addition, in the middle age it was said that three main hospitals received pilgrims to main destinations: Jesusalem hospital, another near St. Gotard for going Rome and Sta.Cristina, quite near Candanchu for going St.James. It doesn't exist any more and we only know where it was.


Language issues: Candanchu comes from French: Camp d'Anjou
Somport (same word in French and Spanish) comes from Latin: Summus Portus. (Maximal Mountain Pass)
Weren't you perhaps thinking about the Carthaginian general Hannibal (Aníbal in Spanish)?

Attila the Hun didn't reach as far as the Pyrenees and AFAIK he had no elephants with him. And well, he lived 700 years later.
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 11:19 AM   #7122
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you're right
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 01:35 PM   #7123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Is it a given that tolls will be removed from all Autopistas whose contracts are going to expire in the early 2020s? Or could they be tendered as concessions, new ones, with cheaper tolls likely and/or additional expansion packages?
We can't be sure about this until the day of expires of the contract reaches, but it is highly possible that AP-4 Sevilla-Cádiz (Dos Hermanas-Jerez) will become a non tolled highway by this date.
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 01:48 PM   #7124
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Has been already built new exit after Dos Hermanas?
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 03:22 PM   #7125
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I don't know any project for new exits after Dos Hermanas, but probably in 2018 or maybe in 2019 it will be opened the new section of SE-40, which will have interchanges with both Dos Hermanas and A-4 in a non-tolled section.

The works that will start soon will be for making turning N-IV in a 2+2 highway with 2 separated roads, instead of a national road. So in some years there will probably be two free highways parallel from Sevilla to Los Palacios, 20/25km approximately.
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 04:19 PM   #7126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Is it a given that tolls will be removed from all Autopistas whose contracts are going to expire in the early 2020s? Or could they be tendered as concessions, new ones, with cheaper tolls likely and/or additional expansion packages?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Many toll roads in the northeast were built during the 1970s and may be up for a major overhaul post-2020. I think that's something to keep in mind when awarding a new concession or taking them over by the state. Pavement quality of Spanish toll roads is also of a bit lower standard than typically found in France or Italy. To be sure - it's not bad pavement, but not of the same quality you'll get for paying tolls in France or Italy.
The concession that's closest to its expiration date is the one of AP-1 Miranda de Ebro-Burgos (2018). As of today, Fomento has yet to decide what solution will be chosen to manage the motorway (source). It looks that all of them (tolling it under public management, a cheaper toll based on licence plate recognition or a total toll-free operation) are open.

This decision will likely be adopted in other motorways with concessions that expire in the 2020s, such as AP-7 between La Jonquera and Alicante. However, as usual in Spain, regional toll roads are a different case. In the Basque Country, regional governments (Diputaciones provinciales) took over the toll motorways, and they are now run by Bidegi (in Gipuzkoa), Interbiak (in Bizkaia) and Arabat (in Álava). In Catalonia, there's a proposal to implement a vignette system to replace tolls in regional motorways (C-32, C-33, C-16), as well in state-owned ones in 2019(source), though it's unclear if this will become a reality in the current political climate (but please I would not want to discuss Catalan-Spanish relations in this topic).

It's obvious that some toll roads are not in perfect condition, however this is partly due to toll concessionaires not making enough money. Traffic in some roads such as AP-1 or AP-7 L'Hospitalet de l'Infant-Sagunt is sometimes too low to pay a full overhaul. Toll roads that carry higher traffic volumes, such as AP-7 La Jonquera-L'Hospitalet de l'Infant or C-32 Alella-Tordera are usually in very good condition.

Another (very different) case are flopped toll roads such as Alicante bypass or Madrid's radiales. At this moment, the Government has yet to come with a solution for them, which will likely involved throwing more money into the banks that sponsored their construction, and which were already bailed with taxpayers' money a few years ago.
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 06:12 PM   #7127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adevahi View Post
The works that will start soon will be for making turning N-IV in a 2+2 highway with 2 separated roads, instead of a national road. So in some years there will probably be two free highways parallel from Sevilla to Los Palacios, 20/25km approximately.
Works to upgrade N-IV to motorway standards between Dos Hermanas and Los Palacios y Villafranca (8.4 km) started last year. Construction activity is clearly visible in updated aerial footage from www.terraserver.com, for instance. It should open next year.

I wonder whether they'll keep the old name (N-IV) or switch to A-4 for this newly built section. It would make sense to change to A-4, but the official press release of the tender just mentioned "doubling of N-IV".
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 07:33 PM   #7128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
Works to upgrade N-IV to motorway standards between Dos Hermanas and Los Palacios y Villafranca (8.4 km) started last year. Construction activity is clearly visible in updated aerial footage from www.terraserver.com, for instance. It should open next year.

I wonder whether they'll keep the old name (N-IV) or switch to A-4 for this newly built section. It would make sense to change to A-4, but the official press release of the tender just mentioned "doubling of N-IV".
I bet it will be renamed as A-4 eventually. The doubt is what is going to happen with those coupled names (A-1/AP-1, A-7/AP-7, A-4/AP-4, and so on) when all those tolled motorways end their concession.
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 08:00 PM   #7129
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Tonight's St. John's Eve, one of the most celebrated festivities of the year in some parts of Spain, especially in Catalonia and Alicante.

As a result, every year traffic conditions are really bad during the afternoon and evening of June 23rd, at least from my experience in Catalonia. Many people leave cities at once after the end of the workday and head to the coast to spend the night there, which results of course in heavy congestion along motorways such as C-32 and AP-7.

Las year I was stuck in one of these epic traffic jams for two hours, just to do a 36 km trip from Barcelona to my hometown, which usually takes no more than 40 minutes. I've just checked Google Maps traffic app and the situation is terrible at the moment throughout all the Barcelona metro area and major roads leading to the coast.

Fortunately, this year I'm spending the evening relaxed at home and I don't have to worry about f*cking traffic.
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 08:32 PM   #7130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verreme View Post
In Catalonia, there's a proposal to implement a vignette system to replace tolls in regional motorways (C-32, C-33, C-16), as well in state-owned ones in 2019(source), though it's unclear if this will become a reality in the current political climate
According to this press article from April, the regional government suggests a vignette system in Catalonia comprising also the State-owned motorways, but Fomento isn't thrilled much about this idea - however, this proposal wasn't plainly discarded by Fomento.

There are many options as for now, one of them would be expanding this vignette system Spain-wide; on the opposite side, it has been also suggested that all these State-owned toll motorways should become free. In my opinion, this last option would troll the Catalan regional government a lot, as the only tolled motorways in Catalonia would be regional-owned. According to the article, tolls are a hot topic in the region.
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 08:55 PM   #7131
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The other issue for the vignette system would be if it would apply only for the National Network (Fomento), or as well it will include the regional road networks, which in some cases is actually almost the whole network (Basque Country and Navarra). Would it be feasible to have vignette system just for the National Network, while other highways maintained by the regional governments can be completely for free? Basque provinces and Navarra would agree to join the system? There are many details to be defined in such proposal. If not at the end, Spain would have 17 + 1 vignettes, which wouldn't be surprising considering how it works out many times... : lol:
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Old June 23rd, 2017, 10:53 PM   #7132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adevahi View Post
I don't know any project for new exits after Dos Hermanas, but probably in 2018 or maybe in 2019 it will be opened the new section of SE-40, which will have interchanges with both Dos Hermanas and A-4 in a non-tolled section.

The works that will start soon will be for making turning N-IV in a 2+2 highway with 2 separated roads, instead of a national road. So in some years there will probably be two free highways parallel from Sevilla to Los Palacios, 20/25km approximately.
I guess it will be there where possible to take AP-4, even if no cost saving due to current tolls
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Old June 24th, 2017, 11:50 AM   #7133
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Somport Tunnel

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.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 12:15 PM   #7134
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It will have been an unnecessary investment as long as France doesn't improve N134. The construction of the tunnel should have taken place coinciding with a massive upgrade of the road on the French side of the border so the whole scheme would make sense.

IMHO, just by extending A65 from Pau to Oloron-Sainte-Marie, including the eastern bypass of the latter up to N134 (25 km in total), Somport tunnel would become a good alternative for traffic between France and Spain. Especially taken into account that on the Spanish side A-23 will be completed up to Jaca (20 km south of the tunnel) in a few years (by early 2020s if everything goes smoothly).

However, nimbysm in the Vallée d'Aspe seems to be pretty high, so it's not realistic to think about any major upgrades taking place in the short term on French side of the border.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 01:33 PM   #7135
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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.
I believe the Spanish traffic count is for N-330a (the old road over the pass), not N-330 (the tunnel). But then, I suspect it's an understimate. The bulk of the traffic is in Winter, when the ski resorts are open.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 01:59 PM   #7136
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Well the map shows two separate counting stations, in the tunnel and at the pass:
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Old June 24th, 2017, 03:11 PM   #7137
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First point to release traffic is Oloron by-pass, secondly "anything" new Pau-Oloron (nice if motorway but even a road with few exits and driving always at 90 will be cool)

After project was signed, French government decided to make a short change just to have, by a couple of metres the exit out of national park. If was French gov. who paid that change.

After 1999 Montblanc disaster, French government deciced to check safety in all long tunnels and improving all under construction. Somport was longest u/c in France and had to be adapted to new requirements. This included one safety exit every 500m instead of 1 km for instance but a lot of measures too.

That was reason it wasn't opened in 2000 or 2001 maybe
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Old June 24th, 2017, 03:44 PM   #7138
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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.
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Old June 24th, 2017, 06:11 PM   #7139
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CM-40 Variante Suroeste de Toledo

I filmed CM-40 around Toledo last week. It is a bypass that opened to traffic in 2010.

Fun fact: while I was driving CM-40, the temperature jumped from 32 to 39°C. It was freaking hot in Spain with most areas 10°C above average. The highest I got was 42°C in Talavera.

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Old June 24th, 2017, 07:47 PM   #7140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
Works to upgrade N-IV to motorway standards between Dos Hermanas and Los Palacios y Villafranca (8.4 km) started last year. Construction activity is clearly visible in updated aerial footage from www.terraserver.com, for instance. It should open next year.
I knew that I don't know why did I wrote that works hadn't started yet.
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