All posts, Órgiva and environs, Culture and buildings

To cut a long journey short – Lanjarón’s new tunnel

Infrastructure plans – first mooted back in 2005 – are back on the table; this time though, things are looking up. Lanjarón’s town hall, the Junta de Andalucía and other local municipalities – including Órgiva – recently presented and/or attended a project to improve access to the Alpujarras from Granada, shortening the journey time and making the roads safer.

Anyone who knows this area will be familiar with the tight bends on the narrow mountain road – the A-348 – that winds its way from the Tablate bridge, via Lanjarón Water’s bottling plant and lorry park, then onwards to the town. It’s certainly made a fair few children car-sick over the years.

We have seen the aftermath of various accidents too including a banana-coloured car dangling perilously off the side of the road – think ‘The Italian Job‘. We also had a passenger who was so scared of the sheer drops into the valley below, they curled up in the back, sobbing like a child.

The project has advanced enough for the works to be put out to tender early in 2021, with a projected timescale of six months to get things underway. That’s what we believe, but we are unsure how long the project wil take to complete. In summary:

  • a new 130m-long tunnel will be built
  • a new 122m-long viaduct will be built
  • twenty curves will be eliminated from the journey
  • the distance from the bridge to Lanjarón will be reduced from 3.7km to 1.7km (that should knock off around 10 minutes from the journey)
  • where possible, the road lanes will increase in width from 3m to 3.5m
  • where possible a hard shoulder will be introduced
  • a 1km ‘slow lane’ at a section where the gradient is 7%, helping lorries and allowing other vehicles to pass
  • it will cost around 6 million euros, using EU funds

It’s not the best image (below) but the Tablate bridge is to the left with the bottling plant clearly shown. The existing winding roads can also be seen. The yet-to-be-built Falso Tunel and Viaducto are marked [Click to enlarge].

@ Junta de Andalucia

Despite the nature of the current road, around 3,600 vehicles use it each day, 9% of which are heavy vehicles. The amount of times we’ve been stuck behind a lorry could be counted on the legs of several centipedes.

Once the project is complete the existing road will be open exclusively for cyclists and walkers – and the views are wonderful.

It’s an exciting project and we will keep you posted on its progress. In the following post – Abandoned Tablate village – and Puente Nazari – you can see the area from above.

This video (not ours) shows the drive – behind a lorry! – of the road in question. It starts under the Tablate bridge and continues to Lanjarón. It gives an idea just why this project would be so beneficial.

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All about Granada, Órgiva, La Alpujarras, Las Alpujarras, Andalucia, Spain – tapas, history, local guides and more.


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