A POTENTIALLY fatal blow has been dealt to the controversial toll road planned between Ronda and the Costa del Sol.
A leading Junta official has now admitted that she has no idea when the ‘ecologically damaging’ motorway will be built.
Although public works chief, Dolores Fernandez, still insists that the project will eventually be completed, she stopped short of explaining exactly when.
And, despite repeated Junta guarantees that the road will be operational by 2012, this now looks impossible.
In fact, it is increasingly likely that building will not even have begun.
The project was originally backed by Ronda mayor Antonio Marin Lara in 2007, after the Junta unveiled its toll road plans.
A total of 400 million euros was set aside to replace the winding 45-kilometre stretch with a high-speed dual carriageway.
The road connects Ronda to San Pedro de Alcantara and is one of the region’s most dangerous, comprising of 365 bends.
Estimates suggest that it would cut travel time from Ronda to the coast by 20 minutes, but it would reportedly cost five euros to use and also be an environmental disaster.
Plans involved carving through the Sierra Bermeja – a European protected site – as well as damaging chestnut growing areas in the higher Genal Valley.
It could also harm a key aquifer in the Sierra del Oreganal, north of Benahavis.
Last year a report by university professors from Granada and Malaga recommended improving the current road by adding an extra lane for overtaking.
Academics also proposed increasing train services between Malaga and Ronda.