Thousands face 71km of darkness on the A-7 motorway

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SEVENTY-ONE kilometres of Malaga’s main motorway, the A-7, will be plunged into darkness of the government doesn’t pay the electric bills.

The 12 kilometres of the motorway in Estepona has been dark for three weeks, although the town hall said the lights should have only have been turned off from Tuesday.

The mayors of Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella and Estepona, sent a letter to electricity company Endesa announcing their wish to terminate the contract by which they were paying for lighting on the parts of the motorway which run through the towns.

The motorway belongs to the Ministry of Public Works and the mayors believe the ministry should pay to light it, something which has cost millions of euros from the municipal coffers for the past 20 years. T

They are also demanding that the €11m they estimate to have paid over the past 15 be paid back to them. Marbella also has to pay the bills on the AP-7 toll motorway, which cost €219,000 per year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Works has responded that “we are not forced to light any motorway, although we can carry out a study and illuminate danger spots such as the entrance and exit to tunnels.” They also point out that it was the town halls that decided to light the sections of the motorway which is why the contracts were in their name.

The ministry also denied having demanded that electricity supply to the motorway be cut off.

The opposition party in Estepona, led by former socialist mayor David Valadez, says the mayor, Jose Maria Garcia Urbano, has “acted irresponsibly” because his decision “can endanger road safety” and that he should have “attempted to reach an agreement with the ministry” before ceasing payments.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Manilva, Antonia Muñoz, said they will continue to pay until Christmas, but is worried about the section between Chullera and the Manilva River with five roundabouts and many slip roads which “would be dangerous without lighting”.

Torremolinos and Benalmadena are not affected by the problem because lighting for the section which runs through the towns is paid by the company which runs the toll motorway.

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