In Ronda news, 327 jobs are to be created in Ronda over the coming months as work on the ring road and a new Arriate bypass begins, with a budgeted 18.5 million Euros allocated.
The economic recession in Spain has hit particularly hard in Ronda with tourism numbers down across the board, and the total collapse of the construction industry hampering efforts to recover. An additional 327 jobs in this climate, 70% of them direct on the project, and the remaining 30% from indirect employment related to the construction work is certainly a major development.
Funding is being provided by Plan Zapatero, an economic stimulus program created by the national government to infrastructure projects going and dampen the blow to the economy with record unemployment of 22% nationally. Ronda’s ring road works are being coordinated by the province of Málaga Public Works and Transport Delegation.
All three of Ronda’s main road entrances are to receive work, with construction at the A-397 San Pedro road, and A-374 Sevilla road already started, and preparation work on the Campillos roundabout underway. The Arriate bypass planning has been finalised with construction to begin later this year.
A-397 access near the new Ronda hospital at the beginning of the A-397 to San Pedro. As traffic increases with the ongoing construction and then opening of the hospital, traffic delays could be expected. An 80m bridge is being built and an overpass constructed for traffic going to and from San Pedro, this should free up the roundabout for local traffic.
A-374 overpass at La Dehesa to remove an accident blackspot as traffic leaving Ronda has to cross the busy ring road, instead traffic will filter into the stream as is normal on most highways.
A-366 and A-367 underpass to be built for traffic coming from A-374 entering Ronda on Avenida de Málaga, which will allow free movement of traffic from the Campillos/Arriate direction into Ronda.
MA-7403 to A-367 Bypass of 6km from Puerto del Monte directly to the A-367 Ardales road, which will remove through traffic from Arriate village, making the drive to Los Prados and Setenil quicker. People in Arriate have been complaining about traffic congestion for years, especially at a section of Calle del Carril which isn’t wide enough for traffic to pass.
Announcing the funding and approval of construction, Dolores Fernández, the delegate from the provincial council stated that the creation of 327 new jobs in and around Ronda should give a valuable boost to the local economy, and at the same time improve transport communication between Ronda an the villages of the Serranía, as well as making the drive safer.
Local environmentalists have criticised aspects of the development, particularly at La Dehesa where several thousand pine trees from the Parque Dehesa del Mercadillo have been felled to make way for the overpass and access on the A-374. Fernández has given assurances that 14,000 new trees will be planted after construction is complete, however she refused to be drawn on plans to purchase land in the immediate vicinity of the park.
Concern is mounting amongst environmentalists that the planting of replacement trees will be swept under the rug, and that petty politics between local and provincial governments will intervene resulting in the trees never being replaced. A petition is being organised by Ecologists in Action to demand public consultation on the replanting of trees.
Ronda’s mayor, Antonio Marín Lara has appealed to the people of Ronda and surrounding villages to be patient as work gets underway, with construction not expected to be finished before 2013. He commented that 24,000 vehicles per day use the ring road, and that the benefits to Ronda of improving the local economy far outweigh the short term inconvenience and loss of a small number of pine trees which will anyway be replaced with trees endemic to the area.