Imanol Pradales and Ricardo Barkala sign a protocol defining the actions to be taken by each institution in taking forward the project for a boulevard between Bilbao and Getxo and a pedestrian and cycle bridge between Barakaldo and Erandio.
The Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Port Authority of Bilbao will collaborate in taking forward the pedestrian and cycle boulevard project alongside the river between Bilbao and Getxo, and the moveable bridge connecting Erandio and Barakaldo. To this end, the Provincial Councillor for Infrastructure and Territorial Development, Imanol Pradales, and the President of the Port Authority of Bilbao, Ricardo Barkala, have signed a general protocol of action that lays the foundations for collaboration between the two administrations.
The protocol establishes the following areas of action for the Provincial Council, as the institution responsible for the development of cycling infrastructure and the promotion of cycling as a means of transport, and for the Port, as the administration owning the land and the river water affected by the planned actions:
- the Provincial Council of Bizkaia: preparation and approval of the projects for the construction of the boulevard and the moveable bridge between Barakaldo and Erandio, as well as works financing, tendering, contracting, execution, settlement and management.
- the Port Authority of Bilbao: provision of the space required to perform the works, authorisation of the works to be carried out in the public domain of the port and a review of the condition of the riverbank walls.
After signing the protocol, Imanol Pradales thanked the Port Authority for its involvement in the transformation of the BI-711 into a boulevard, reminding those present that this is a project perceived by the Provincial Council as a way of radically transforming the right bank of the river and promoting sustainable mobility between the municipalities of Bilbao, Erandio, Leioa, Getxo and Barakaldo.
For his part, Ricardo Barkala pointed out that the Port Authority has enabled and promoted several projects and urban development measures of general interest in the area along the river and in the Port of Bilbao itself, such as riverside walks, public access and roads, and the recovery and opening of new recreational areas for the people living in towns alongside the river. ” We now have the possibility of promoting a new project along these lines made possible by the Provincial Council, for which we have already taken the necessary steps to reclassify the use of several roads and public spaces for public use rather than port activity. The Port Authority of Bilbao retains responsibility for the river water that surrounds and connects the municipalities of Erandio and Barakaldo”.
Barkala also stressed the importance of the fact that the bridge connecting the two banks in the future will be mobile, with a minimum height to enable vessels to continue sailing along the river, “due to the
port activity that still exists riverside and to maintain and promote leisure traffic, such as that generated by the Maritime Museum and Bilboats”.
Works to begin in 2022
The project for the boulevard between Bilbao and Getxo and the bridge connecting Erandio and Barakaldo was presented by the Provincial Council last February as key to extending the ‘Bilbao effect’ to the towns along the river, and to enabling the sustainable mobility of nearly 600,000 people. The boulevard is designed as an area where priority will be given to pedestrians and cyclists, though limited vehicle traffic will be permitted along the BI-711.
The construction project is currently in the design phase (project layout and characteristics), with works expected to begin in the second half of 2022 and to be completed by the end of 2024. Estimated investment for the project is EUR 36.5 million.
According to Unai Rementeria, Head of the Provincial Council, the boulevard will be flat and run for seven kilometres, with designated areas for cyclists and pedestrians, and will be as wide as possible, with some sections jutting out over the surface of the river.
The bridge between Erandio and Barakaldo will be a mobile structure to allow vessels to continue sailing up and down the river. This bridge, for use by cyclists and pedestrians, will connect the boulevard on the right bank of the river with the cycle paths and pedestrian walkways around Ballonti and the Urban-Galindo area on the left bank.
Finally, both the design and development of the bridge and the boulevard will draw on the knowledge and experience of the international group of experts on cycling from the University of Breda and the Dutch Cyclist Embassy, and the Bizkaia Association for the Promotion of Cycling.