FROM midnight tonight large parts of the AP-7 will become free to use – but users on the Vega Baja will have to wait until 2048 before tolls finally cease.
Cars travelling from Alicante to Tarragona in Spain will save about €46 on this 375-kilometre stretch and the journey from Tarragona to the French border will start to be free from 2021.
But for now, the section of the AP-7 between Alicante and Pilar de la Horadada and between Cartagena and Vera will continue to be paid for. On the first of these, the Ministry of Public Works will apply a 0.84 per cent increase in fares as of midnight tonight, while the Cartagena-Vera leg will be free of charge only between noon and 6 am.
The Ministry of Public Works expects traffic on the free part of the AP-7 to increase by at least 30 per cent, as it did after the liberalisation of the AP-1 in Burgos last year.
The measure on the road between Burgos and Vitoria has had “all kinds of repercussions: the accident rate on the alternative national road has dropped, but there are also complaints because there is now less traffic (on the national road) and the petrol stations and restaurants have lost customers”.
From tonight onwards, the AP-4 between Seville and Cádiz will also be free of charge, a 94-kilometre stretch that links both Andalusian provinces.
The government in office took the decision not to extend the expiring toll road concession contracts so that they would revert to the State and allow their free use. Except for in the Vega Baja, where the present concession does not run out until 2048.
It was proposed by politicians to establish a reduced toll for residents, as the only other alternative to travel between Orihuela and Torrevieja is the N-332, which suffers from jams, especially in the summer season. But this proposal has not been taken up.