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Tuesday, February 08, 2022

The train to the South of Tenerife would reactivate the island's economy

The train to the south probably won't look like this! Preserved steam locomotive in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), manufactured by Henschel und Sohn, in Kassel (Germany), in 1924. It worked on the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, transporting stones from the La Jurada quarry to the Muelle Sur (South pier). Now located on the Autovía Carretera de San Andrés (San Andres Highway), near the old quarry of La Jurada; in pedestrian zone on the outskirts of VallesecoCARLOS TEIXIDOR CADENAS, CC BY-SA 3.0

"Tenerife has been growing an average of 10,000 inhabitants per year for three decades and continues with the same roads", they point out from the College of Civil Engineers

The College of Civil Engineers, Canals and Ports of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, founded 220 years ago by the illustrious Puerto de la Cruz native, Agustín de Betancourt y Molina (1758-1824), want to make clear "the serious problem of mobility" in which the island of Tenerife is immersed, emphasizing that "we have had a deficit for 25 years, the date for which the current motorways were planned". The directors of the College of Engineers manifest themselves in favor of the Tren del Sur (Train of the South). “It would not solve the entire mobility problem by itself, but it is a great alternative between the two most populated areas of the island, and it would serve as a quick connection for the airport, I think, the only one in the world with 12 million passengers a year, without guided transportation." 

"It is unacceptable that you can be against the train, when even Greenpeace has blessed it as the transport system that pollutes the least and generates the least environmental impact”. The College's deputy dean, Luis Gutiérrez, added that "if the already drafted project were approved today, it would take six years to build, generating 3,500 direct jobs per year on construction, and among the indirect ones, many productive sectors of the island would benefit, such as those related to the accommodation sector, restaurants, as well as suppliers of construction materials and machinery”. In addition, Rufino García and Iván Solla, also engineers, point out that “the tram, with 55,000 passengers/day, is being profitable, already paying off the investment, and Metropolitano de Tenerife (Tenerife Tram) has also drawn up the project for the southern train and its economic viability”.

Luis Gutiérrez indicated that “I remember a general director of Highways of the Government of the Canary Islands who always said: “When I go to Gran Canaria, the people in the towns and the politicians ask me for investment and works; when I go to Tenerife, they encourage me not to do them. Result, in Gran Canaria they have everything built, and here everything remains to be done, being in the same road situation as 25 years ago”.

Rufino García Fernández, president of the Canarian Cultural Foundation for Engineering and Architecture Betancourt y Molina, says one of the many mobility problems on the island is that "there is a lack of a single authority that consistently manages mobility at the island level”. Rufino García recalled that the road system of the metropolitan area, which includes "absolutely everything that needs to be done", was approved by the Cabildo in 2006, but, at a given moment, someone said 'now I don't like it', and it came to a standstill .

The reality is that “there are two sections of Tenerife's roads that support more than 100,000 vehicles a day. One is the Metropolitan area and the other is the area of ​​the South Tourist City (Adeje). This means that, on average, 130,000 people circulate there daily and 80% of the vehicles do so with a single occupant. If we managed to get two passengers to travel in each car, the number of vehicles would be a more manageable 65,000. With that fact alone, we would reduce demand by 35%”, assured the engineer. He recalled that in the 70s of the last century the current highways, TF-1 and TF-5, were put into operation, designed for a time horizon of 25 years, and a traffic intensity of 22,000 vehicles per day. Today, 50 years later, they support, in some sections, more than 100,000 vehicles per day. The first problems of depletion were detected in the 90s, after the population of the island grew by 227,000 people and since then until to now it has grown by 300,000.

“The truth is that the island's basic motorway network was designed when Tenerife had 400,000 inhabitants and 11,400 vehicles and now we are 1,050,000 people and 850,000 vehicles. Nobody should be surprised that we have mobility problems,” he pointed out.