The project, which has already been drawn up, provides for eleven lay-bys between Barazar and Usansolo
The Port Authority of Bilbao and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia will extend their collaboration on accessibility issues by signing an agreement to construct a series of lay-bys on the N-240 for special transport vehicles. The agreement, already approved by the Governing Body of the Provincial Council, will now have to be ratified by the Board of Directors of the Port Authority and by the State Ports Authority.
The President of the Port Authority, Ricardo Barkala, has welcomed this collaboration with the Provincial Council to solve these problems. “This agreement, along with others previously signed between the Port and the Provincial Council, takes full advantage of synergies to improve access to the port, whilst at the same time increasing the flow of traffic and supporting the competitiveness of our companies”, he explained.
The Head of the Provincial Council for Infrastructures and Land Development, Imanol Pradales, also expressed his gratitude for the involvement of the Port of Bilbao “in mitigating the effects on the network of local roads of freight traffic originating in or destined for the Port”. Pradales added that the agreement states that “the Provincial Council of Bizkaia will be responsible for the construction project, for providing the necessary land and for tendering the contract to build the eleven lay-bys for special transport vehicles”. The Port Authority, on the other hand, will provide the required funding.
The expected date for awarding the works contract is November 2020. Work would begin in February 2021, with a lead time of 19 months.
Port specialised in project cargo
The port of Bilbao is specialised in project cargo. In 2019, the port received 4,099 special parts: the heaviest one weighed 500 tons, the longest one 70m, the widest one 7.5m and the highest one 8m.
The N-240 national road, Tarragona – Bilbao via Barazar, is a road of the network of preferential interest, and runs a total of 32.9 kilometres through Bizkaia, between kp 23+050 (on the boundary with Álava) and kp 55+770 (El Gallo).
It is one of the main access routes from the Spanish Meseta to large transport terminals, mainly the Port of Bilbao, but also to the airport and logistics areas for freight transport, handling a lot of heavy traffic. The average volume of traffic ranges from 5,000 vehicles a day on the section between Barazar and Zeanuri, with 33% of heavy vehicles, to 15,700 vehicles a day on the section between Lemoa and Usansolo, with 13% of heavy vehicles. Depending on the section, the road handles between 2,100 and 3,500 lorries a day.
Furthermore, the N-240 is widely used by special vehicles, as it is not a toll road and is the main route between the companies that manufacture this type of component part, especially for wind turbines, and the Port of Bilbao. However, there are certain disadvantages to using the N-240 that may reduce the competitiveness of this transport and that of the Port of Bilbao. On the one hand, the passage of the convoys generates problems in the towns and villages along the road and traffic issues for regular users and for the transporters themselves, since these vehicles, due to their size and low speed, cause traffic congestion in the district of Arratia, especially at rush hour.
Furthermore, these transit problems may lead to a loss of competitiveness for the industrial fabric and, by extension, affect the demand of the Port’s customers.
The agreement to be signed by the Port and the Provincial Council will solve these problems by constructing the eleven lay-bys, where special transport vehicles will be required to stop temporarily if they are causing a tailback of vehicles behind them. Once the tailback has disappeared, they can then return to the road as normal.