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The new tunnel in a project rendition, which shows when it will be fully operational, Source: Ajuntament de Barcelona

New tunnel in the heart of Barcelona lets the city breathe easy

New tunnel in the heart of Barcelona lets the city breathe easy

Its creation was considered one of the most complex urban planning operations in the city

This past weekend (6 November) saw the opening of the much-awaited tunnel under the Plaza de las Glòries in Barcelona. The new infrastructure facility moves the car traffic underground for a stretch of about one kilometre right in the core of the Catalonian capital, with the result of providing much-needed peace, quiet and clean air to the district.

Since 2019, the urban area that had been reclaimed from the street traffic above the ground has been converted into a green space (of 20,000 square metres), which got expanded a little bit more in September with the creation of the Clariana playground.

The tunnel goes deeper than the local subway

For now, the tunnel is in operation for car traffic going in the direction to Besós, or the northeast peripheries. The traffic arm in the opposite direction to Llobregat is expected to open up in January next year. The tunnel itself is located in the vicinity of the Agbar Tower, possibly the most famous contemporary architectural landmark of Barcelona.

It has been one of the most complex works carried out so far in the city and has resulted in a 957-meter tunnel (1,157 if the two ramps are added), with two independent unidirectional circulation tubes that reach a maximum depth of 25 meters in the area below the square. The tunnel thus goes under the L1 Metro line and the R1,2,3,4 light railway lines.

It consists of two sections: the first one, 508 meters long, between the streets of Los Castillejos and Badajoz, at a maximum depth with respect to the square and below the railway lines of 25 meters, and the second, 449 meters, between the streets of Badajoz and the Rambla del Poblenou, with an average depth of 10 meters.

The tunnel incorporates the latest technology in security measures and control, with emergency exits separated by a distance of 200 meters and new control of tunnel operators that has moved and opened its headquarters within the Municipal Services Center, in the Torrent de l'Olla street.

This infrastructure is expected to channel the traffic that circulates through this area, which is 78,000 vehicles per day. Of these vehicles, 43,000 circulate into the city and 35,000 out. Before the start of the works, the total figure at this neuralgic point reached 95,000 vehicles.

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