Residents and visitors to the Costa del Sol have been excitedly photographing and videoing their journeys through the new tunnel bypassing San Pedro Alcantára, which opened late last week.

After much deliberation over the proposed route, works to build the tunnel started in 2008, and although there were significant setbacks, both weather and finance related, most people seem to agree that it was well worth the wait!

In the past, San Pedro was always known as one of the worst Costa del Sol bottlenecks. The CN340 cut right through the middle of the small town resulting in those travelling between Estepona and Marbella getting snarled up in the town’s local traffic. A complicated set of traffic lights and some unusually designed roundabouts did little to help! Despite fears that it would be a disaster, once the original road closed so that the works could commence, some commuters actually believed that traversing the town became much easier.

San Pedro Tunnel

But that’s all behind us now! The new tunnel has made travelling between Estepona and Marbella far simpler, quicker and hassle free. The wide tunnel that goes underneath the route of the old CN340 is well lit and very straight. Even though it has a strictly enforced 80 kph speed limit, most users believe it has easily cut ten minutes off their journey time when travelling from one side of town to the other.

The tunnel signifies a new start for San Pedro Alcantára and will boost opportunities for businesses, shops, offices and restaurants both in the town and in the nearby area of Guadalmina, which has been difficult to access during the road works.

Towns and resorts to the west of Marbella are also looking forward to welcoming more visitors to the area this summer now that it is much easier and faster to travel to areas such as the New Golden Mile, Selwo, La Resina, Estepona and Manilva from Málaga and Marbella.

Those dignitaries who opened the tunnel on 26th June may have been somewhat surprised that in Marbella at least, their arrival in San Pedro slightly overshadowed what had been their principal duty of the day – earlier in the afternoon, most of them were involved in the eagerly anticipated official opening of the second runway at Málaga airport.

Already the fourth largest airport in Spain, Málaga Costa del Sol Airport (also known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso Airport) began the huge scale works to build the second runway approximately five years ago. This €370 million investment has almost doubled the airport’s capacity, which will now be able to handle up to 72 flights or 9,500 passengers per hour. This not only affects the better-known resorts around Marbella and Puerto Banús, but is fantastic news for the towns and villages to the east and north of Málaga, such as Nerja, Frigiliana, Almuñécar, Antequera and the Axarquia region, which hope to encourage more tourism over the next few years. Michael Liggan of Altavista Property Spain says: “The Costa del Sol is already estimated to attract up to three million visitors each year. With these new innovations and improvements to our infrastructure, we look forward to welcoming many more in 2012 and beyond.”