The Government of Gibraltar finally responds to a historical problem in vehicle access to the Rock with the inauguration, this Thursday, of the new tunnel that will serve as an entrance road bypassing the airport runway and which will enter service at midnight of this Friday.
The construction of the gallery, 1.24 kilometers long, has taken 15 years. Work began in 2008, scheduled to be ready in 2010. However, the Government terminated the contract with OHL and started a lawsuit that delayed the entire process. The final cost has been 27.4 million euros, according to the latest figures offered.
This important work is ready so that the ten thousand vehicles that cross the Gate every day can access it avoiding the usual queues that form with traffic interruptions every time a plane lands or takes off from the airport runway.
The main minister of the Peñón, Fabián Picardo, and a large part of his cabinet, have attended the inauguration ceremony, at noon, very celebrated as it marks the end of an initiative that has taken longer than expected. Next to him has been Peter Caruana, maximum president of the Rock when the works began.
Picardo has been the first to cross the pass, arriving in his official vehicle through it at the cutting of the ribbon.
The infrastructure, in addition to speeding up the passage through the Gate, opens up new growth possibilities for the aerodrome, the shared use of which is claimed -for the umpteenth time- by Spain during the negotiations in the European Commission and the United Kingdom to establish relations between the Rock and its surroundings after the Brexit.
The tunnel under the airport will be the only possible regular entrance for vehicles, as Winston Churchill Avenue used to be, and forms part of a new highway, 1.24 km long and two lanes in each direction, which will connect border control with Spain with Devil's Tower Road, also giving access to Eastern Beach Road and Catalan Road.
The speed limit inside the tunnel can vary between 20 and 50 km/h depending on the traffic flow, and it will always be clearly signposted. To avoid collapses, if vehicle traffic on the airport side reaches the tunnel exit, the entrance on the Devil's Tower Road side will be temporarily closed to allow clearance.
Cameras monitored by the Tunnel Control Room will automatically detect any vehicle that abruptly slows down or stops inside the tunnel. In an emergency, you can give instructions directly to tunnel users through a public address system. This public address system will also take over the radio frequencies inside the tunnel, so that drivers listening to the radio will simultaneously receive the message through their own car's speakers. Emergency boxes located at intervals within the tunnel contain an emergency telephone, which connects directly to the Tunnel Control Room.
The project includes a parallel lane -with access via a walkway accessible from Eastern Beach (Playa de Levante)- for pedestrians, cyclists, scooters of all kinds and users of reduced mobility vehicles, although these people will be able to continue crossing the track as before now.
The new road bypasses the Gibraltar airport and the tunnel runs under gate 27 of the runway, opposite the Princesa Sofía Park in La Línea.
In addition, a building has been erected to house the control and exploitation center for the tunnels, as well as a storage area for the storage, loading and unloading of aviation fuel, as well as a new approach system to runway head 27. .
With this built-in infrastructure, it is not surprising that the flow of tourists and residents to La Linea, and therefore to Campo de Gibraltar, is more fluid than up to now, and...pending the end of the Brexit negotiations, Campo de Gibraltar and, of course, Gibraltar, are the beneficiaries of a negotiation that…would not be a bad thing if it took up the old aspirations of everyone in the area of influence.
From Ayling Property Services SL, pioneers in the establishment of Gibraltarians in the Sotogrande area, we are pleased with this news, and we look forward to the final end of the negotiations, so that we return to the normality that has always been and must continue being, two sister communities and united in search of progress and prosperity.