Les Glòries tunnel opens and frees up traffic on Gran Via

The infrastructure opened at 5 a.m. and by 7 a.m. 1,300 vehicles had already passed through

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Vehicles driving through the Glorias tunnel this morning

BarcelonaThe tunnel in Plaça de Les Glòries opened early this morning and now allows vehicles to leave the city more quickly. The work had already been finished for days and had passed all the safety tests, including one that had not been foreseen, the heavy rains that fell a week ago. All that remained to be done was to repaint the stripes on the ground to guide drivers who wanted to leave the city and make them enter the new tunnel. The workers worked through the night and just before 3 a.m. it was possible to open one lane. At 5.20 a.m. they opened the entire tunnel, which consists of two lanes for private vehicles and one for buses. At 7 a.m. 1,300 vehicles had already used the new infrastructure, according to Manuel Valdés, Barcelona's manager of Mobility and Infrastructures.

Valdés has asked for "caution" and has warned that at the beginning "because of the change of habit there will be more intensity of traffic because people will have to get used to it". In a few weeks, however, the City Council is confident that drivers will be familiar with the new infrastructure and that the exit of vehicles will be fluid. "We have to watch over the next few days in case there are any incidents", added Valdés.

Images of the moment in which the Guardia Urbana has opened the tunnel

The tunnel, 957 meters long (1,157 if you include the entrance and exit ramps) will speed up the passage of the 35,000 vehicles that travel through the Gran Via every day in this direction to leave the Catalan capital. The workers will now continue working on the other tunnel to allow the 43,000 vehicles that enter the city every day to go underground. According to forecasts, it should be open at the beginning of next year. The work, which made it possible to demolish in 2014 the road drum of Les Glòries that was built in the 90s, will have cost around 192 million euros and is, without any doubt, one of the most ambitious works that have been done in Barcelona, for its impact and difficulty.

Bisma general manager, Ángel Sánchez, recalled this week that four railway lines already pass underneath the square (the L1 metro line and the R1, R3/R4 and R2 suburban lines). This has meant that a slope had to be made at the entrance and exit of the tunnel to bridge the difference in level, because the railway infrastructure will be above the new tunnel. Sánchez also explained that with the opening of the tunnel "a fantastic green space will be freed up", because the lanes that now cross the square will only be used by city buses that have stops in the neighbourhood. "Now the whole of Glòries will be urbanised", Sánchez explained. At first there will be a "provisional urbanisation in the part of the Besòs" and the definitive one will be done when the two tunnels are finished. "It will not be an abandoned space", said the head of this municipal company. A few days ago shop owners criticised precisely this provisional urbanisation and denounced "the lack of foresight" of the City council.