A9 roadworks – a pain if you’re heading to Spain!

A few words of warning if you’re hitting the roads this summer…

  1. Ongoing strikes have wreaked havoc with the French transport system for months, and could continue to cause disruption for the foreseeable future.
  2. Schools are out this Friday 6th July and whilst that’s great news for the students among us, inevitably  it also means that the roads are going to be dramatically busier from now on.
  3. What’s more, as of the first of the month, we also have to navigate the new speed limit laws!

But for those of us thinking of heading down into Spain, that’s not all! There are also major roadworks to contend with as the region continues with its project of widening the A9 motorway.

Costing over half a billion euros, the project is the largest undertaken in Catalonia since the turn of the century and covers a total of 40 km between Perpignan Nord and Le Perthus.

The 17km stretch between Perpignan Nord and Perpignan Sud was delivered in 2013. The 15 km section between Perpignan Sud  and Le Boulou was inaugurated in 2016.

The very last stage, 8km running from Le Boulou  to Le Perthus, is more technically challenging and may well cause headaches for motorists, with traffic reduced to a single lane in certain places.

The difficultly lies in widening the Calcine, Rome and Pox viaducts. Project Director, Paul Delplace, confirms that although his team have experience in widening viaducts, this particular project “remains uncommon”.

He explains that usually, a completely new structure would be built to replace the original but given the topography along this stretch, that is “almost impossible!”

Improvement works are a response to the huge increase in traffic seen over the last decade, with up to 40,000 vehicles travelling along this stretch of road each day. But it’s certainly not a quick fix… work, mostly completed at night, is set to continue through to 2020!

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