Andorra has good reason to celebrate. We have recently had positive news about communications between Andorra and the rest of the world. On a recent visit to the Spanish prime minister, the Andorran Head of Government, Antoni Martí, was given the government’s promise to install a GPS landing system at the Andorra-La Seu airport in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain. This state-of-the-art technology allows planes to safely land and take off in adverse weather conditions. It is expected to come into operation in spring 2019, the same date that the infrastructure department of the Catalan Government is working with.
This improvement would enable the airport, which was opened in 2015, to increase activity and the frequency of flights. These are currently limited for safety reasons, especially in winter, the season when most tourists come to the Principality. It would also be a great resource for investors, professionals and residents, who would certainly appreciate and rate highly this new means of fast, convenient, modern transport.
Furthermore, the C-14 road that crosses the Spanish county of Alt Urgell is undergoing major improvement works, to avoid bends and rockfalls. The works address the gorge at Tres Ponts, some 3 km between the edge of Organyà and the existing tunnel at Montant de Tost. The new tunnel has been started at Tres Ponts, which will be 1,300m long and 12.5m wide, with wide verges. For safety purposes, it will have emergency evacuation tunnels with exits every 250m.
The road that joins Andorra to France is also undergoing improvements. The usual repairs at the end of the winter season are underway, as the snow and ice damage the road surface. Soon, works on the Tarascon bypass will start, and the road will be stabilised and widened at other points, including special areas for putting on snow chains, one at the entrance to Hospitalet. An investment of 200 million euros is planned, 150 million of which will be provided by France.
In spring 2018, the Sapyra project to protect Pyrenean roads against avalanches was restarted, on the RN20 road between Hospitalet and Andorra. The works will be carried out over approximately 23 weeks in the Pyrenées-Orientales department, specifically, the corridors at risk of avalanches at Porté-Puymorens (Pe9) and Porta (Pe13), where snow fences, nets and plantations will be installed. The preliminary works began last year and, this summer, the plan is to finish the works by November, before the first snowfalls. If not completed in time, a new phase of work will be planned from mid-August 2019. The protection will deter avalanches on this section, which have often forced the French authorities to close the access road to Andorra during the winter.
The landing system to be installed at the Andorra-La Seu airport, together with the investments and works on the roads, will greatly improve access to Andorra from France and Spain, reducing the travel time by road and increasing route safety.