WORK on the Alicante-Murcia AVE high-speed train route has come up against solid rock in the Sierra de Callosa.
Spain has more high speed trains – AVEs – than any other European country, although the crisis is slowing them down.
So too, is topography. Environmentalists already opposed the Alicante-Murcia AVE route crossing Callosa de Segura when they were still on the drawing board.
Now engineers and construction workers have come up against the Sierra de Callosa, a 150-hectare protected area.
While they blast a two-kilometre tunnel out of the metamorphic rock, a much-used road between Callosa and Cox has closed so that lorries can remove the dynamited boulders.
Although the CV-900 is the principal connection between the two localities, the closed road is a popular shortcut.
Locals still shunning the CV-900 are now using a badly-surfaced, potholed rural lane that is rapidly deteriorating because of the number of cars using it.
Unwary drivers are continuing to enter the closed road before having to turn round when confronted by barriers after a couple of hundred metres.
Many complain that the only warning is a small, easily overlooked sign at the roundabout giving access to road.
Railway infrastructure company ADIF had asked the Local Police to close the road, explained Callosa’s councillor for Traffic, Gaspar Serrano.
It will remain closed for around four months although everything depends on the progress made with the tunnel, Serrano said.
Serrano’s inability to quote dates was echoed by Public Works minister Ana Pastor.
She was, however, referring to the Madrid-Albacete-Alicante AVE and not the line which passing through Callosa.
Earlier on at a luncheon given by the Valencian Association of Businessmen, she admitted not knowing when the train would arrive in Alicante.
Planned for the end of 2012, the original timetable cannot be adhered to, Pastor said. Asked when the infrastructure would be completed, Pastor explained that since several projects not been put out to tender it was impossible to give a date.
The proverb “Easier said than done” was all too true in this particular situation, Pastor confessed.
She also criticised the previous government.
The “same people” who said that Alicante’s AVE would be ready in 2012 were the “same people” who failed to invite tenders, the minister said.
By Linda Hall