Over 1,000 kilometres of road have become toll-free in Spain in the last three years
It is one of the stated policies of the current Spanish government not to renew the management concessions of toll motorways when current contracts expire, and as a result the latest batch of agreements to reach their termination date on Wednesday September 1 will see another 477 kilometres of motorway become toll-free in various parts of the country.
Arguably the most significant of these newly “liberated” stretches of road is the AP-7 between Tarragona in Catalunya and La Junquera on the border with France, making it possible to drive to France from Cartagena in the Region of Murcia without using any toll motorways. The news has been welcomed by the transport sector in the Region of Murcia, as drivers who frequently use the AP-7 as it passes through Catalunya to transport fruit and vegetables to Europe will be saving around 35 euros per journey.
But there are other stretches of motorway which are also becoming free to use this week, including the AP-2 between Zaragoza and El Vendrell in the province of Tarragona, and it is estimated that with current levels of road traffic the total of tolls “saved” by drivers will amount to 515 million euros per year.
Since 2018 other roads where toll barriers have been removed include the AP-1 between Burgos and Armiñón, the AP-7 between Tarragona and Alicante and the AP-4 between Sevilla and Cádiz. As a result there are now 1,029 kilometres of motorway in Spain where charges have been removed in the last three years.
While those in the transport business consider the removal of the tolls to be good news, there are fears that “soft tolls” being demanded by Seopan, a group of concessionaires dedicated to the management of Spain’s public infrastructure could be applied to the roads which have been made free to users in the foreseeable future.
The list of current Spanish toll roads is as follows, until the new changes come in on September 1:
- Autopista AP-2: Zaragoza – Mediterranean
- Autopista AP-46: Alto de las Pedrizas – Málaga
- Autopista AP-51: AP-6, connection with Ávila
- Autopista AP-53: Santiago de Compostela – Alto de Santo Domingo
- Autopista AP-6: Villalba – Villacastín – Adanero
- Autopista AP-61, AP-6: connection with Segovia
- Autopista AP-66: Campomanes – León
- Autopista AP-68: Bilbao – Zaragoza
- Autopista AP-7: Alicante – Cartagena
- Autopista AP-7: Barcelona – Tarragona
- Autopista AP-7: Estepona – Guadiaro
- Autopista AP-7: Málaga – Estepona
- Autopista AP-7: Montmeló – La Jonquera
- Autopista AP-71: León – Astorga
- Autopista AP-9: Ferrol – Portuguese border
Image: Google Street View
Source: Murcia Today