A tunnel under El Estacio bridge?

The mayor of San Javier commissioned the preliminary project to build a tunnel under El Estacio.

Luengo sees it as “necessary for La Manga”, although Pérez Ruzafa warns that “it will do little if the Mar Menor deteriorates”

story by  ALEXIA SALAS   

Driving to the north of La Manga under the sea is the solution launched yesterday by the mayor of San Javier, José Miguel Luengo, to solve the recurrent ailments that affect the bridge of the Estacio and that, in each breakdown, force to close the lagoon at the entrance or exit of sailboats whose pole exceeds seven meters in height. Luengo announced that the City Council has already commissioned a project to build a tunnel under the sea to the College of Civil Engineers of Murcia. “It would provide security for all,” he said.

The mayor defends that “there are hundreds of experiences around the world and it is necessary for La Manga, because it would be to forget that you can spend every two hours or not on the bridge,” he said, referring to the opening hours of the overpass boats have to wait to leave or enter the Mar Menor. At the same time, with each lift of the collapsible bridge, the vehicles have to wait in line for the road to be reestablished. “It is not an invention or a novelty, and you have to start talking about it,” he said about a new alternative to the El Estacio bridge, the gola that was artificially widened in the 1960s.

The first bridge that united La Manga with the north zone was revolving, and its gradual deterioration -was built in 1969- gave rise to episodes of citizen emergency, since more than one break left dozens of isolated families north of the canal. The Community invested 9 million euros in 2003 in the construction of the new tilting bridge. Maintenance cost the Consistory about 220,000 euros a year for more than a decade, although an agreement with the port of Tomás Maestre commits this entity to cover an increasing percentage of the expenditure until it reaches the total.

Defend this alternative for the faults of the viaduct, which force to close the way to sailboats

Luengo recalled yesterday that “the conditions of erosion suffered by the bridge expose it to breakdowns. The last time we were three weeks waiting for a piece from Germany, “he said yesterday at the press conference, after the Governing Council, offered with the regional president, Fernando Lopez Miras, who gave the go-ahead to the infrastructure of draft raised by Luengo. “We will have to see the impact and the budget, but we see it well,” said Miras.

Uneven effect

In the absence of knowing the viability of the project, the announced tunnel will satisfy some – the business community of La Manga always claimed it – and it will annoy others, mainly the scientific community and the environmental groups. For the professor of Ecology Ángel Pérez Ruzafa, spokesperson for the Scientific Committee of the Mar Menor, “it is too ambitious a work for the problem that is trying to be solved”.

The professor of the UMU highlights “the geological and environmental implications”. Building a tunnel to avoid bridge breakdowns believes it is “killing flies with cannon fire”. “A tunnel will be of little use if the lagoon deteriorates,” says Ruzafa, who questions “if it is the most urgent project, when we must make agriculture compatible with the environmental quality of the Mar Menor, and that goes through infrastructures that channel waters in the drainage basin ».

“Deflecting efforts can not be the most appropriate”, insists the professor. He worries “that roads are built to saturate the space even more”. “This tunnel can solve the bridge deteriorate, but can also open two entrances to a bottleneck,” said the expert yesterday. “Economic activity also saves the Mar Menor but it must be planned,” he said.

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