Friday, January 28

The A-40: the highway promised 30 years ago that avoids Madrid

The Autovía de la Meseta Sur, the A-40, intended to bypass Madrid to decongest the highways of the capital. I was going to leave Ávila and go through Castilla-La Mancha and up until I reached Teruel. Almost 30 years after the Infrastructure Master Plan, it is still not finished: the sections from Ávila to Madrid and from Cuenca to Teruel, among others, are missing.

In the Strategic Infrastructure and Transport Plan (PEIT) 2005-2020 the A-40 was a “priority”, but in the Infrastructure, Transport and Housing Plan (PITVI) 2012-2024 it was lowered to “under study”. The former Minister of Development Ana Pastor set a horizon in 2024 to execute, among others, the section between Ávila and Maqueda (Toledo), an infrastructure whose informative study dates from 1995. However, in the last General State Budgets (PGE) the Budgetary items did not exceed 100,000 euros, an amount that has provoked the reproach of Avila politicians.

Environmental impact studies are still pending for the Adanero (A-6) -Ávila and Ávila-Maqueda sections, which must be carried out by the Ministry for Ecological Transition. And then it would be many years until it was finished.

The Cortes of Castilla y León last year urged the Junta to urge the central government to launch “with the utmost urgency” the Meseta Sur highway. It was the Por Ávila formation that promoted this Non-Law Proposition, supported unanimously. But it has not had much public repercussion, beyond.

The Ministry of Transport obtained a month ago the favorable environmental impact statement (DIA) for the informative study Autovía entre Ávila (A-50) and the Autovía del Noroeste (A-6). This DIA does not affect in any way the A-40, of which the people of Avila still do not know.

The mayor of Ávila, Jesús Manuel Sánchez Cabrera, described the A-40 as the “desired highway” in an interview with this newspaper. In his statements, Sánchez Cabrera considered this highway an infrastructure “for the State”, “strategic” for the province of Avila. “The connection with the A-6 in Adanero would be very important and we could connect Maqueda with the highway of the vineyards,” he pointed out. The Cebreros City Council also asked the Socialist deputies and senators to amend the General Budgets and increase the amounts for the Meseta Sur highway.

In June, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma) provisionally approved and initiated the public information file for the Toledo-Ocaña section with four possible actions. This is the only section pending construction in Castilla-La Mancha, according to the latest public update from the Ministry of Transport.

The solution initially selected because it was considered more favorable to the general interest was the alternative based on the CM-4001 highway corridor: it will cover 25 kilometers and the estimated budget for the works will amount to 198.7 million euros.

Manuel Gimeno has spent more than a decade fighting for the Cuenca-Teruel section, a section for which it is “a punishment” to go along the current highway. “There has been no political interest either from the Central Government or from Castilla-La Mancha,” reproaches Gimeno, one of the founders of Teruel Existe.

Gimeno, a rural doctor for years, refers to the difficulties that exist in various sections such as the Ademuz-Teruel national highway. “There are no hard shoulders, it is known as ‘the mirror breaker’. It has been like this since before the year 73, that I worked there, and nothing has been done except two curves,” he remarks.

The Teruel is committed to a “mesh” structure to “decongest” traffic and that it is not necessary to go through Madrid to go down to the east, Extremadura or go up to Aragon. The spokesperson for Teruel Existe highlights the importance of the future Reus-Alcañiz section that the training “scratched” the Government in its General Budgets: the extension of the A-40 to Reus and the writing of the informative study.

Gimeno accuses the public administrations of “using” the environment – the environmental impact statements – as a “political weapon” to avoid executing an infrastructure. In 2008 a negative Environmental Impact Statement was issued which expired ten years later. Ecologists in Action also protested at the time about the Maqueda-Ávila section, which they considered an “environmental nonsense” because it would cross 16 protected natural areas.

While the administrative procedures continue; the budgetary items are distributed in other infrastructures. The A-40 remains incomplete, and it is not foreseeable that it will be completed in the next few years.