The end of tolls in Catalonia has had a first effect as immediate as expected: it has triggered traffic on these arteries that were previously paid. In the case of the AP-7, one of those that already had the highest volume of vehicles, it has seen how these increased by 20.47% in September 2021 compared to the same month of 2019. But much more pronounced has been the increase in the C-33, which runs between Barcelona and Montmeló: has been 46.39%.
The tolls that collect the most in Spain fall without agreeing on an alternative to finance the toll roads
The greatest influx has been noted especially on weekends, with the departure and return operations to Barcelona, when kilometer queues have been registered mainly on the AP-7. The most prominent was the first Sunday without tolls, on September 5, when 37 kilometers of retentions were counted in the north section and 23.5 in the south, due to a serious accident.
Given the apparent rise in traffic on the freeways, Traffic sources warn that a good part of them are vehicles that were already circulating in the same way, but by other means. In this sense, they assure that they have not yet been able to calculate how many of them do represent a net increase in the use of private vehicles for these journeys.
From Traffic, while urging the owner of the roads to dismantle the toll structures to allow a better flow, they have approved this Thursday that trucks weighing more than 7,500 kg cannot circulate on Sunday afternoons at more than 80 km / h or overtaking. Throughout the month of September, heavy vehicles were directly prohibited from circulating that day of the week.
The erection of barriers on different highways affected more than 550 kilometers in Catalonia on September 1, 2021, which became free overnight. They were the AP-7 in its section between Salou and La Jonquera, the AP-2 from Zaragoza to El Vendrell, the C-32 – known as the Maresme highway – and the C-33 between Barcelona and Granollers.
This change came without a consensus in Spain yet on what the payment model should be to maintain the highways and motorways, even more so in the midst of the climate crisis. For now, the only commitment that exists on the part of the Government, bound by the European Union, is to establish a pay-per-use model for 2024.