The Vandals are back

LAST UPDATED: 4 Jun, 2009 @ 10:16
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The Vandals are back

Granada ring road will benefit speculators and IKEA, but ‘destroy’ Darro valley

ONE of Andalucia’s most evocative views – the Alhambra Palace and the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains – is in danger of being ruined by a new motorway.

Opponents to the 150million euro scheme insist there will also be widespread destruction of the historic Darro Valley if the Eastern Granada Ring Road goes through.

“The only people benefiting are the speculative construction companies and big retailers”

The ‘Autopista del Alhambra’ project will see the widening of the existing road to the Sierra Nevada skiing resort with a new spur road north.

The 10km scheme – which could become the most expensive road in Spain at an initial estimated cost of 147million euros – is likely to go ahead despite opposition from the Alhambra Palace and residents groups.

“It’s crazy and immoral to even contemplate building what could turn out to be the most expensive road in Europe,” said Javier Egea, of Ecologistas en Accion.

“This is a unique landscape rich in history, which will neither meet the transport needs of the people of Granada, nor create permanent jobs.

“The only people benefiting are the speculative construction companies and big retailers, such as IKEA, which is moving into the Kinepolis retail park to the north of Granada.”

The environmental group have been joined by the IU party to oppose the scheme, that will run close to the virgin Dehesa del Generalife and the famous Sacromonte caves.

It will cross a beautiful and environmentally sensitive area by a mixture of viaducts, embankments and one tunnel, insist opponents.

The viaducts are expected to be 70 metres high, and will be visible from the Mirador de San Nicolás in the Albaicin.

The Darro valley is known as one of the lungs of Granada, one of Andalucia’s most polluted cities. The Alhambra sits on a ridge formed by the Darro and Genil valleys.

Mostly an area of ‘Special Protection’ in Granada’s PGOU town plan, it is a area of hills, woods and olive groves.

The Alhambra’s entire hydraulic system comes from the Darro river.

Said the Ecologistas spokesman: “With both main political parties in favour, the construction industry in the doldrums, and the national government anxious to identify projects which will stimulate the economy, it will probably go ahead”.

It will then lead the valleys to be opened up for speculative housing development.

“One of the major beneficiaries is likely to be José Avilas Rojas, who owns much of the affected land. He has been accused of various corruption charges and has links to the Marbella property scandals.

For more information visit www.noalcierre.net

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  1. If the route proposed in 1996 was followed the road would follow the natural land levels and require two bridges and a short tunnel. It would cross an area of scrub, of no ecological interest. Best of all it would allow the developement of up to 200.000 homes without destroying the valuable and fertile Vega. The fact that Avila Rojas spotted this fact and has bought up much of the land only proves that he has a good eye for busness. The New Project is a badly thought out scheme, designed without actually walking the route. It would require very expensive and intrusive construction and cost 100 times the 1996 scheme.

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