The coastal train to link the interior of the Vega Baja with its coastline is viable. This is considered by the study commissioned by the Orihuela City Council to the University of Alicante (UA). The project, drawn up by Professor Armando Ortuño from the UA Department of Civil Engineering, estimates its cost at 277.6 million euros, which includes, in addition to the railway route between Orihuela and Torrevieja, three stations, Bigastro-Jacarilla, San Miguel de Salinas and another in the salt city. In Orihuela, the current Cercanías intermodal station would be used, where the AVE is scheduled to stop.
The mayors of Orihuela and Torrevieja, the popular Emilio Bascuñana and Eduardo Dolón, respectively, presented yesterday, in a joint act to show “that both municipalities are one”, the conclusions of the UA study. The act was also attended by the president of the Provincial Council, the popular Carlos Mazón, as well as his vice president, Julia Parra (Cs), to show the support of the provincial institution for the project that aims to structure the region by linking Orihuela and Torrevieja by train.
The “Orihuela-Torrevieja / Orihuela Costa Railway Tracing” project is a highly demanded infrastructure in the Vega Baja, which lacks good communications between the two most important cities in the region. However, only that study was presented yesterday, since none of the administrations represented there would assume its cost. Both the mayors of Orihuela and Torrevieja, as well as the president of the Provincial Council, did not take long to ask that “the Generalitat assume it or transfer it to the Ministry,” Emilio Bascuñana said. To do this, the councilors requested yesterday, before the presentation of the project in front of the Orihuela intermodal station, a meeting with the President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, with the intention of presenting him the study of the train on the coast and including in the upcoming budgets, which are being prepared, an item for your blueprint. “It is time for compromises and the Vega Renhace Plan is the appropriate document for the politicians responsible for that plan to include an item for the draft,” said Eduardo Dolón.
Professor Armando Ortuño explained the details of the railway route that would take advantage of the CV-95 platform to reduce the cost of nearly 280 million. The project presents two route alternatives such as the route between the nuclei of the districts of Arneva and Hurchillo (the route through the Hurchillo mountain in the form of a tunnel) and from the Orihuela station with the CV-925 running between Hurchillo and Bigastro (from La Pedrera there would be a single route). The Torrevieja / Orihuela Costa station is proposed in two locations, the entrance through Los Balcones, next to the AP-7, or an alternative that raises the cost, as it is next to the Torrevieja Hospital since the 1.5-kilometer journey from Los Balcones it must be buried.
To minimize costs, the study proposes a single road with a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour, sharing a platform with the CV-95 with a complementary cycle-pedestrian lane. And a total of 28 daily services are established between Orihuela and Torrevieja and vice versa (one train every half hour each way). The UA project estimates that the coastal train, which would later be complemented with another study on how the route would enter Torrevieja and how it would connect with the CV-95, would have a passenger flow of 1.2 million, minimum, adding those who would use this shuttle to go to the coast of the Vega Baja from the trains that stop in Orihuela. “In the project we emphasize that it would increase the profitability of the Cercanías, AVE or long distance train lines that are already operating,” explained Ortuño. It has also carried out an environmental analysis that includes the main determining factors when defining the route, such as the land of protected natural areas, urban planning, the risk of flooding, the morphology of the land and the existing infrastructures.
The more than 277 million of the cost of the route include infrastructure costs, superstructure, expropriations and the three new stations planned. To finance the project more immediately, the UA is committed to paying for availability. This formula, not widely used at the moment, consists of a public-private collaboration, in which an administration entrusts the works to companies to which it pays annually and whose canon includes the maintenance and conservation of these infrastructures and their exploitation.
The president of the Provincial Council highlighted the “economic benefit” of the project, for which he requested “intelligence on the part of the investor.” “It is neither an approach nor a demand, it is an investment” and “a safe bet,” added Carlos Mazón. For his part, the Oriolano mayor indicated that “it responds to the great needs of the Vega Baja, with the union of the coast with the interior, in parallel with the CV-95.” And the councilor from Torrevieja demanded investment in this “viable” project that “is the dream of many in the Vega Baja, and I say it is a reality that we deserve.”
The failure of the tram that would link the southern coast of Alicante
In 2005, the then Minister of Infrastructure, the popular José Ramón García Antón, now deceased, announced that he would extend the experience of the tram-train that he develops between Alicante and Dénia to the southern coast of the province. This route would run through the south of the coastal strip with the extension of the tram line to Santa Pola, as well as the Guardamar-Torrevieja-Pilar de la Horadada connection, thus providing a solution to the great demographic growth experienced by the coastal strip. However, the project would never be carried out and would be forgotten.
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