The aim is to reduce the disruptions to general traffic using the N-644 road, and especially to facilitate the passage of heavy loads transport whose origin/destination is the Port of Bilbao so that Port can maintain its accessibility and competitiveness as the economic driving force in Biscay.
The necessary works on the tunnels, which form part of the Bidesarea Project to improve and modernise the territorial roads network, will commence on 17 September with an 8-month completion period, and will enable the tunnels to be adapted to the latest safety measures.
The rehabilitation works on the Mamariga Tunnels on the N-644 road will begin on 17 September with the commitment of the Territorial Council of Biscay and the Port of Bilbao to take all the measures and provide all the necessary resources to accelerate and manage heavy loads transport in order to minimise disruptions to the utmost, and to guarantee the accessibility to and competitiveness of the Port at all times.
This was announced by the Deputy for Territorial and Economic Development, Imanol Pradales, and Port Chairman, Ricardo Barkala. They informed that both institutions, having been in contact with all agents involved over recent months, had established a series of measures to reduce disruptions to general traffic on the N-644, and in particular to heavy loads transport whose origin/destination is the Port of Bilbao. Specifically, it was decided to accelerate the works and set up a traffic-management system to facilitate normalised passage for heavy loads.
This type of traffic is directly related to the Port of Bilbao’s competitiveness and fundamentally, to those industrial activities that are strategic for the Port, and especially for those connected with the offshore wind energy sector.
The Mamariga Tunnels, which have been in service since 1990, constitute a strategic point for the Biscay territorial road network being used by 17,000 vehicles to access daily the Port of Bilbao and the towns Santurtzi and Zierbena. Consequently, this is an essential plan to modernise and to improve safety for a priority access road to one of the driving forces of the Biscay economy.
Acceleration of works and traffic management
Since it is impossible to limit the works only to nights, three work shifts will be set up and material and human resources increased in order to minimise disruptions. In this way, the
minimum works completion period implied by the closing of one tube will be 6 months, and the final carrying out of all the works 8 months, instead of the initially estimated 14.
In addition, during the months either of the tubes is closed to traffic, a traffic light signalling system will be introduced to allow heavy loads to exit the Port in two day time slots (morning and afternoon/evening), and one at night for both entry and exit from Monday to Friday. This will enable compatibility with the works with minimum disruption to both heavy load and usual traffic on the N-644.
Rehabilitation of tunnels
The actions to be taken on the Mamariga Tunnels forms part of the Bidesarea Project for the modernisation and safety on the territorial road network. This project defines a series of modifications to aspects concerning the route, undersealing and drainage, as well as to the other basic infrastructure (surfaces, structural coating, appearance, safety barriers, and drainage) and safety infrastructure (lighting, signalling, installations, fire protection, PA systems). Thus, among other actions and improvements, a new LED technology lighting system, new ventilators, PA systems, lighting and ventilation control will be installed. In addition, fire detectors will be increased and wiring and interior cameras will be totally renewed.
These actions as a whole will enable the Mamariga Tunnels to be adapted to the most modern and rigorous safety measures established by the norms in Biscay.
The works will commence on 17 September and will, according to plan, last until the end of May 2019. The Territorial Council of Biscay will invest 5,868,474 euros in all.