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Motorways 'going toll-free' from September...and which ones still carry a charge
31 August 2021 @ 22:43

MORE motorways are set to become toll-free starting from September, now that their franchises have expired and the State has taken on funding and maintenance.

Tolls are charged by private companies which maintain and repair the highways using the fees paid by users, but have tended to run at a loss since the start of the financial crisis in 2008 as even long-distance lorry drivers would use alternative, even far less convenient, routes to avoid paying.

The latest to become free of charge to use total 477 kilometres – more than the distance from Madrid to most of Spain's coasts.

A stretch of the AP-2 (first picture) through Aragón, which runs from the region's largest city, Zaragoza, to El Vendrell in the province of Tarragona and serves as a direct connection from the former to Barcelona will cease to attract a charge from September 1 – a total of 215 kilometres.

The AP-7 in the east, which forms part of the E-15 from northern France to the Costa del Sol, will be free to use along two of its northern stretches, totalling 262 kilometres.

From Tarragona, the southernmost provincial capital city in Catalunya, through to La Jonquera (Girona province), the last town before the French border, along the AP-7 will no longer carry a fee.

Neither will the stretch from Montmeló to El Papiol in the province of Barcelona.

Massive savings for motorists: Catalunya's 52% of toll roads drop to 0%

Spain's ministry of transport calculates that, based upon the current volume of traffic on all three of these chunks of motorway – 13 million vehicles annually - drivers will save a total of €515 million a year.

But given that the absence of the tolls is likely to mean more motorists using these roads, the actual saving per annum to the general public could be as high as €752m.

Three years ago, Catalunya was the region with the highest percentage of toll roads – 52% of its total – and, from September 1, will not have a single one left.

As for Aragón, the 102 kilometres of the AP-2 that cross the land-locked north-eastern region – not counting the part which runs into Catalunya – will now be €90m per year cheaper to use.



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