Bridge unites communities on the Iberian Peninsula
The recent construction of an international bridge linking the province of Huelva with the Alentejo, in southern Spain and Portugal is bringing benefits in the form of more efficient transport connections and new opportunities for economic and social development for businesses and approximately 50 000 residents. The distance between the two towns has been dramatically reduced from 138 km to just 12 km.
“We’re going to see differences in commerce, in fact in all areas, tourism, social life, economics, politics.”
Juan M. Burga, Mayor of El Granado, Spain
February 2009 saw the inauguration of the 140 m long, 11 m wide bridge linking the Portuguese town of Pomarao with the new provincial motorway HU-6400. This new motorway as well as other features including the widening and improvement of nearby motorways, new signposting and environmental redevelopments have been backed by local authorities and European funding and are part of an overall redevelopment strategy in the region.
Recognising human and environmental needs
The regions of Andalusia, Spain and El Alentejo, Portugal are today able to enjoy better communication links now that the new bridge built over Chanza River is fully operational. This is in fact the third motorway link between Huelva province and neighbouring Portugal, adding to those already existing through Ayamonte and Rosal de la Frontera. Flora and fauna were not forgotten during the construction, with developments taking into account environmental concerns.
Celebrations for growth and prosperity
The February 2009 inauguration of the bridge was attended by local and national authorities from both Spain and Portugal. The significance of the bridge in terms of economic and social development cannot be underestimated, as the tourism, agricultural and commercial sectors rely heavily on improvements to infrastructure such as this. On the social side, for locals who for centuries have hardly known each other, the bridge has effectively made them new neighbours.
Boost for tourism
Tourists and tourism operators in particular stand to benefit from the new bridge in terms of reduced travel times between the two countries, particularly during peak seasons. For example, Mértola, the main Portuguese town in the region and a source of cultural and archaeological treasures for tourism, now finds itself less than 20 minutes from El Granado and a little over half an hour from Huelva.