The road warrior ok the M-30 of Madrid!

As you know, love the road and freedom that it provides, and just glancing at my blog realized in a particular way have yet to write about one of my nicest memories on the road and I was there from the beginning of it all!

Well ,you see the title, the M-30 is a beltway road of Madrid, the first one, and it is a 3 because it is actually the third beltway in history see it down below. I was living in Madrid when they started building it and left when they had finished it! It has been a love affairs ever since 1974!

I have included in the narrative below some tidbits of my encounters here, the main arch over it passes near the Monumental bullfight arena of Las Ventas on Calle de Alcalà on the way to my piso (apartment in Quintana). It seems every visit  I need to take somebody by here and tell of all the businesses there,gone and new over the years. Some like where my Mom purchase my first shoes are still there (Victor Calzados) and of course I purchase my boys shoes there too! The restaurant where we spent many evenings and I do concur the best patatas bravas of Madrid, Docamar since 1963 still there!

I remember, going by bus P13 (today 113) to the baseball field of Elipa,now a huge sports complex park and baseball field still there, the Madrid baseball federation is base there etc. Now ,you can even go there from Doctor Esquerdo street and over the passarelle of the M-30! All wonderful memories never to be forgotten. Enough of me, let me tell you about the M-30.

The M-30, also call the Madrid ring road (beltway), is a road done like a highway except in the North of the city on the Avenida de la Ilustracion, this road goes around the city.  It has a length of about  32.5 km with an average radius of 5.17 km with respect to the Puerta del Sol. It is heavily congestion and high traffic volume, and some says the most in Spain. It has a speed limit of 90 KPH on the above sections and 70 KPH below the tunnels. The peculiarity is to be the only Spanish highway of which is own by the City Hall of Madrid.  The construction of the M-30 would  started  in 1970 (while I was living in the city) , in two different sections: the East section, or Avenida de la Paz, between the Carretera de Irún (to France) A-1 and Carretera de Cadiz  A-4, which followed the riverbed of the old Abroñigal, which was to be channeled and buried under the the highway. The West stretch, or the Manzanares highway, between the Puente de los Francéses (bridge of the French) and the Carretera de Cadiz (road), mostly built following the course of the Manzanares River. Both sections were joined in the South junction, and were not completed until 1974. (When I left Madrid after my  1st time there)

The first beltway would be formed by the streets that follow the old plot of the wall of king Felipe IV that formerly circled the city: lower part of the Cuesta de la Vega, Ronda de Segovia, Puerta de Toledo, Ronda de Toledo, Plaza de Embajadores, Ronda de Valencia , Ronda de Atocha, Glorieta de Atocha, exterior wall of Retiro park (currently, Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo, the first section of  Calle O’Donnell and Calle de Alcalá), Paseo de Recoletos up to the current Plaza Colón, and the “boulevards”, (Calle de Genoa, Calle de Sagasta and Calle Carranza ). With the construction of the viaduct, the extension of Calle de Bailen and its union with the Gran Via de San Francisco, at the same time as the construction of the last two boulevards already in the 20C (Calle de Alberto Aguilera and Paseo del Marqués de Urquijo) , the belt was enclosed by the West.

The second beltway  would be formed by the Rondas: Avenida de la Reina Victoria, Calle de Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, Calle de Joaquin Costa, Calle de Francisco Silvela, Calle del Doctor Esquerdo and Calle de Pedro Bosch.  The highway was designated as M-30 because it was the theoretical third beltway of Madrid. And my first encounter with a highway in the city of many nice memories even crossing it on the Passarella later on !  Its construction really was thought out in the 1960s and required the underground canalisation of the Abroñigal river, required to avoid flooding since the road runs through the lowest part of the city. In the 1970s the most important section was open between the junction of Manoteras (cross with the A-1, M-11 and accesses to Sanchinarro) north side of Madrid  and the Nudo Sur (South Junction), that connects to the Avenida de Andalucia (previously N-IV) now A-4.

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It usually counts three lanes of traffic in each direction and can align up to 9 lanes, especially east of the city. This is where most of the country’s radial highways go to the various cardinal points of Spain: A-1: North Corridor, A-2: Northeast Corridor, A-3: East Corridor, A-4: South Corridor, A-5: South-West Corridor A-6: Northwest Corridor. A bit technical but will try to give you as much of the history and layout of the M-30

The construction of the tunnel by  the South Pass , that connects it directly with the  A-5  to the southwest of the city and to the A-3, needed the use of the two biggest tunnel grounders of the world. They are the longest urban highway  tunnels in Europe, with sections of more than 6 km in length and 3 to 6 lanes in each direction, between the south entry of the Avenida de Portugal tunnel and the north exit of the M-30 south by-pass there are close to 10 km of continuos tunnels. The M30 tunnels run between a point roughly 700 meters north of the junction with A5 motorway and continue all the way up to the junction between M30 and A3 motorway.  Lately my entry in and out of Madrid.

To tell you a bit of the different sectors of the M30: North sector: Between the A-6 and the A-1 the flow from the northwest via the A-6 connects to the M-30 north-west of the city surrounding the urban center. It runs along the Puerta de Hierro Park before connecting to the M-40 for the first time. It serves all the northern districts of the city (Antonio Machado and Lacoma).   The M-30 loses its highway status to become the Avenida de la Ilustracion while waiting for the tunnel by the North Pass  from which the M-607 is towards  Colmenar Viejo (Segovia etc)  on the extension of the Paseo de la Castellana until the junction with the A-1 and the M-11 to the northeast of the city. Hope I have not lost you , is all well posted!

East sector: Between A-1 (Burgos) and A-3 (Valencia); It is a very busy area because it recovers the flow from the north of Spain from Burgos, Barcelona or Zaragoza. Indeed very busy by me too ! The M-30 serves the eastern part of the city, where the northeast Highway connects to the 2nd largest city in the country: Barcelona.   In this area the road is particularly large and loaded and includes up to 8 traffic lanes, separated according to destination in, each direction. At the Calle de O’Donnell the road crosses the M-23 which allows to reach the radial highway R-3  from the East. Then to the southeast of the city, come the connection to  the A-3 which allows to reach the Spanish Levant. It is at this bifurcation that the tunnel by Pass is detached which directly connects the A-5 to the west of the city.

Sector South: Between the A-3 (Valencia) and the A-42 (Toledo), it is a double stretch of the road, first with the tunnel By Pass on which connects the southeast to the southwest of the city. The A-4 southbound disconnects to the Manzanares River to serve Andalusia (Cordoba, Seville,…). At this bifurcation it is joined by the Embajadores Tunnel which connects the South highway directly to Calle de Embajadores near the Atocha station in Madrid. My way of course, good driving, are you with me?

Sector West: Between A-42 and A-6; The M-30 forks with the A-42 to Toledo  (yeah the old N400) before going along the Manzanares by joining the tunnel by South Pass. It runs under the west stands of the Vicente Calderon Stadium. A kilometer further away is the Avenida de Portugal to serve the south-western suburbs of Madrid (Alcorcon, Mostoles…).

The M-30 crosses the M-500 and loops its turn at the junction with the A-6; there are 31 exits/salidas  in total, last count. The principal exits to big cities are the no 1- A-1 – Alcobendas, Burgos, exit 2, M-11 to A-2 (E-90)/A-3/A-4/Calle de Arturo Soria – Feria de Madrid, Madrid-Barajas Airport, Zaragoza, Exit 4b,  A-2/Calle de Arturo Soria – Zaragoza, Exit 9,  A-3 – Valencia, Exit 18,  A-5/Plaza España – Badajoz, exit 23a , A-6 – Madrid, Moncloa, Exit 23B,  A-6 – a Coruña, exit 23,  Calle de Sinesio Delgado exit 23,  Calle de Arroyofresno, Avenida Ventisquero de la Condesa, M-605/M-40 to M-607/avenue Cardenal Herrera Oria– El Pardo, Colmenar Viejo, M-40 to A-6 –  A Coruña .

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map of M30 old beltway and next one around it M40.Credit University of Madrid

We have some nice building running alongside this highway M30, the best for me is the Elipa park where I used to played baseball! In my youth there and not there is a passarelle bridge from calle del Doctor Esquerdo to Calle Pez Volador to the passarelle and over to the park easy walk.  Others are in a clockwise direction from the junction of Manoteras ,north of Madrid up Paseo de la Castellana:   Cámara de Comercio de Madrid(chamber of commerce of Madrid) ,  Centro Cultural Islámico y Mezquita de Madrid, (the mosque of the M30), Plaza de toros de Las Ventas(monumental bullfights arena right off my old neighborhood on Calle de Alcalà), Torrespaña, Centro Comercial Moratalaz (shopping mall) , Matadero Madrid (arts entertainment center today on the old slaughterhouse of Madrid), Estadio Vicente Calderón (old stadium previous of the Atlético de Madrid FC), Ermita de la Virgen del Puerto( a nice Church), Jardines del Palacio Real de Madrid (gardens of the Royal Palace), Estación de Príncipe Pío(train station), Jardines del Palacio de La Moncloa (gardens of the house of government Moncloa),  Real Club Puerta de Hierro ( a private club) , Centro Comercial La Vaguada (shopping mall and one of my favorites in the city), Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Hospital Universitario La Paz(hospitals).

The M-30 appears in numerous films set in Madrid. A very characteristic one is  “Que he hecho yo para merecer esto,?” OR what have I done to deserve this? by Pedro Almodóvar. And in literature, it is the protagonist scene of the work of Esther García Llovet  La M-30, la gran velada or  the M30 the great evening.

There you go, a nice ride in the beehive of roads in Madrid today, from the M-30 you have today all the way around to the M 55 and many R (radials) with tolls to make driving in Madrid a Grand Prix Challenge , good ground for the road warior lol! Actually , folks, it is a lot easier than read, if you have driven in big cities before, of course.

Some webpages to help you understand a bit more this wonderful beltway are

On history here: https://www.mc30.es/index.php/calle-30/sobre-calle-30

On circulation traffic laws here: https://www.mc30.es/index.php/explotacion/circular-por-calle-30

State of traffic in Madrid: http://informo.munimadrid.es/informo/tmadrid/tmadrid.php

City of Madrid maps in pdf files  by main districts: https://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Movilidad-y-transportes/Incidencias-de-Trafico/Principales-incidencias-en-la-ciudad/Planos-por-Distritos-y-Barrios/?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=8ef0f4c41d4dc010VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=cbe0aa2dedcb1610VgnVCM2000001f4a900aRCRD

And remember, easy on the road but enjoy the freedom it provides. As said, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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