The tunnel under the river, a pivotal feature in the arrangement of transport in Biscay
Scheduled to open in 2027, and with a planned investment of between 337 and 403 million euros, the building of the tunnel under the river is fulfilling its different stages.
June 2020 saw the award of the contract for undertaking the engineering work that will provide a detailed description of the core technical aspects for building the tunnel: its specifications, its exact route, multimodality, the construction method, and the connections on both sides of the river with the existing high-density road network.
These tasks involve an investment of 8.9 million euros and will be completed in 2023. The winning tender was submitted by the temporary joint venture consisting of three Biscay-based engineering firms: Idom, Sener, and Euskontrol.
The thinking behind the tunnel under the river
The tunnel’s purpose is to provide a solution for the daily gridlock at the three busiest points on the roads in Biscay, and ensure fluid, safe driving conditions.
Furthermore, the tunnel will bring the two sides of the river, the Margen Derecha and the Margen Izquierda, closer together, as these are the main centres of population in Biscay. People cross from one side of the river to the other more than five million times every year, so the tunnel will make life easier for them.
Route of the tunnel under the river
- The tunnel under the river will link the two sides, the Margen Derecha, the right bank, and the Margen Izquierda, the left bank. Its mouth on the left bank will be located at the Ballonti roundabout (Portugalete), while on the right bank it will be on the Artaza roundabout (Getxo).
- The tunnel will be 3,037 metres long, 200 of which will run beneath the river where it flows into El Abra Bay.
- The tunnel will be multimodal, which means that besides road traffic it will cater for other means of transport.
Timeline for the project
- December 2019: Feasibility study, now completed.
- January 2020: The tunnel’s definitive route, now completed.
- June 2020: Award of the building project, now completed.
- October 2022: Building project, in progress.
- June 2023: Start of building work, pending
- June 2027: Opening of the tunnel