It was several decades in the planning and at times it looked as though it might never happen, but just three and a half months after its opening, it seems that San Pedro Alcántara’s bypass is already paying its way. Figures released recently by the General Traffic Department (DGT) show that, despite an increase in traffic volume, the number of serious accidents in the San Pedro and Marbella areas has decreased since last year. The survey was conducted between kilometre points 172 and 184 of the A-7 and revealed that, while the actual number of accidents fell only from seven in 2011 to six in the same period this year, the severity of the damage was markedly less. Last summer one person was killed and another seriously injured, whereas this year all the accidents were minor. A further benefit of the tunnel has been the reduction of tailbacks in the Marbella exit from the A-7 and local traders and various other interested parties have started a campaign to have the toll on the AP-7 reduced, particularly during the summer months, in the hope that this will persuade the drivers of the larger trucks and articulated lorries that tend to slow the flow of traffic to use the toll road instead. However, San Pedro’s business owners are already big fans of the new tunnel and bypass, claiming that trade, which had been less than satisfactory during the time that the new road was being constructed, showed a distinct improvement over the summer. Briseida León, President of the San Pedro Association of Small and Medium-sized Businesses (Apymespa), claims that the summer of 2012 has been a comparatively successful season for the town’s economy. “During July and August there have been more people in San Pedro, which has been made possible by the A-7 tunnel and the introduction of blue zone parking, which has resulted in a greater turnover of people,” she says. The San Pedro business community will be working hard to ensure that trade continues to improve and Sra. Briseida has some ideas about what can be done, including building a boulevard over the tunnel. “That would really help to boost business,” she suggests. Ideas that have already been proposed for this new area of San Pedro include a park and a gourmet market. Michael Liggan, of Altavista Property Spain, says: “The new tunnel isn’t just good news for San Pedro’s business community, but cuts down travelling time for everyone on the Costa del Sol. If you live in Estepona or on the New Golden Mile and want to travel to Marbella, the bypass will cut minutes off your journey. Obviously, improved transport links mean that those who have bought property on the Costa del Sol will notice that the transfer time from the airport to their destination has dramatically decreased. This can only continue to have a positive effect on the area.” La Resina Golf – New Golden Mile