The tunnels of Monrepos and al.

So coming right at you and my road warrior instincts need to tell you about some road experiences, well pretty much let you know the wonderful work going on to bring travel between France and Spain, the No 1 and 2 most visited countries in the world!!!(UN-WTO) together.

I know might be repeated but I have been driving these lands since the 70’s and myself at the wheel since 1990, and the progress has been huge! Many of these crossing were done in dirt road and over very steep mountain passes! Today we have the tunnels! hurray!!!

Let me tell you a bit about them on my two beloved countries, France and Spain or Spain and France!

The tunnels of the Monrepós are a set of seven road tunnels located in Spain on the Col du Monrepós in the Pyrenean mountain chain. They are located on the axis of the A-23 (European Axis E-7 (Pau-Zaragoza)) between the towns of Huesca and Sabiñánigo.  There are two tunnels in operation on the N-330 and four others under construction on the A-23 section of the road. The total length of the six tunnels that will remain in service is 7 743 meters, which will make this set of tunnels one of the most important in Spain.

monrepos

The tunnels of upper Aragon are two consecutive single-tube tunnels of three lanes with a length of 1 449 meters and 609 meters (5th and 10th longest road tunnels of Aragon). Designed and built in the early 1990’s, these tunnels allow improved access to the Pyrenees compared to the old road. They represent a gain of 100 meters in altitude, avoiding many problems in winter, as well as a distance gain of 3.2 km and the passage of a narrow and winding road to a wide road with three lanes (two normal lanes and one lane for slow vehicles).  The option chosen is to use part of the existing roadway of the current N-330 and to construct a new, more or less parallel road, which will cross the pass through a network of viaducts and four new tunnels. The future tunnel will be located at the top of  Monrepós and will be a twin tunnel of the Monrepós  tunnel (or upper-Aragon). It will measure 1 500 metres (4th longest road tunnel in Aragon) and be a two-lane mono-tube tunnel. The route is integrated into the Haut-Arguis (upper) section of Monrepós on the A-23 highway. The future tunnel of Caldearenas will be located in the top of Montrepós. Its first section will be a twin tunnel from that of Monrepós 2 (or upper-Aragon 2), while the following are used to gain 2.6 km of descent from the top of the pass towards the city of Jaca. With a length of 2 885 meters, it will be the longest of all the tunnels of the Monrepós, the 2nd longest road tunnel of Aragon and the 15th of Spain. Like the other tunnels on the A-23, it will be mono-tube double-track. The predicted maximum slope is 3%. A 2 km parallel evacuation gallery is also provided. The route is integrated into the top section of Monrepós-Caldearenas on the A-23 highway. technical info on Monrepos in Spanish: Altimeters network on Monrepos

Monrepos

The tunnel of Nueno  is located at the banks of the Isuela river ,between the towns of Arguis and Nueno,on the beginning of the descend to the port. The banks of the Isuela river is a very tight and delicate for the environment therefore this is a alternative route to the N-330 highway, in occasions with parallel lanes and sometimes independent of each.  The tunnel in the banks of the Isuela river has 494 meters and it is a mono tuve doublé lane of one way.  It is integrated to the section of the highway A-23 “Nueno-Congosto del Isuela”, that has 5 km and opened in July 2014.  On this section there are ,also, 3 viaducts of 315, 202 ,and 140 meters respectively.

Huesca

huesca

monrepos

There is a huge construction project going on as i write that will create 8 tunnels for a total of 8 km and raise 12 viaducts ! Even if takes several years for the road to reach Jaca. The  20,6 km reaching  Sabiñánigo  are still in the offering as the union of the sections Lanave-Jabarrella and Jabarrella-Sabiñánigo south. By March 2019, the tunnel of Caldearenas on the A23 the 2nd longest in Aragon with its 2885 meters is done. The works are located in the section  Alto de Monrepós-Caldearenas, that is part of the system of tunnels of  Monrepós, connecting the towns of Huesca and Sabiñánigo, relieving most traffic ; this has help improve the flow of traffic here. I will need to try this new structures!

Huesca

The Spanish highway A-23 (my main road to from France) also call the Autovía Mudéjar is a communication axis between the Mediterranean coast and the Valencian community as well as central Pyrénees.  It helps connect Sagundo on the north with Valencia a the tunnel of Somport and to reach France by the central pyrenees. It cuts thru the towns of Teruel, Zaragoza, and Huesca (wonderful rides). It ,also, extends the French national road  RN 134 between  Pau and Oloron-Sainte-Marie (great towns). The A-23 follows the route of the national roads N-234 between Sagundo and Daroca and later the N-330 between Retascón and the tunnel of Somport. The A-23 arrives to Zaragoza by the south to connects with the beltway Z-40 (quick and easy).  Which are our usual trip to from France/Spain. ON the last sections are still in construction that will take you directly to Jaca where it will connect with the highway A-21 coming from Pamplona and the town of Canfranc  by the tunnel of Somport.

huesca-a23-dir-huesca-aug16

We rode hard until the outskirst of Zaragoza where from the A23 we took the beltway Z40 direction the airport of Zaragoza/and Madrid.  We continue on this A23 to direction Teruel/Cariñena wine country. On this stretch we stop for lunch at Plaza Mudejar A23 Somport-Sagunto km 215 by Villadoz/Zaragoza; here we had our bocadillos or sandwiches of chorizo and tortilla (omelette) with  a large glass of beer call a tubo(tall glass of 200 cl), croquettes of ham and cheese, and orange juices 7,65€ per person in 2016-17 twice. Great memories we always hit it on!  It was delicious and good festive vacation ambiance with lots of travelers More info here: http://www.plazamudejar.es/

The usual tunnel and one written before in my blog is the tunnel of Somport that connects France and Spain at the west of the Pyrenean chain. It is use by the Spanish national road N-330, and the French RN 134, part of the European network of the E7 Pau – Zaragoza. The RN 134 goes over the Pyrenees at the peak of Somport at 1 632 meters high,yes!. This is possible in good weather only so check the meteo/tiempo news . In addition , this road crosses the national park of the pyrenees. The tunnel itself is at an average height of  1 150 meters, and will ease the crossing in bad weather. It is reach on the French side by Urdos (Pyrénées-Atlantiques),also the old stop for customs before the EU ! at the village of  Les Forges d’Abel at 1 116 meters high in the valley of the Aspe. You come out on the Spanish side south of the town of Canfranc  at 1 180 meters high.  It retraces the old railroad line that is inactive now after a bridge collapsed in 1970 , on the old line of Pau – Canfranc, it is ,however in coming back opening expected in  2020. More on Somport: Tunel de Somport Jaca region tourist office

Somport

The peak of or Col du Pourtalet is another passage we have taken if less frequently between France and Spain . It is donne by the town of Laruns in France ,and the valley of the Ossau in Spain valley of Tena. It is passed at an altitude of 1 794 meters, fallinng on the circus or cirque d’Anéou offering a wonderful views on the peak or pic du Midi d’Ossau. More details on crossing at the Valley of Ossau tourist site in French

Portalet

Some webpages to help you plan your driving are

The port of Somport access routes

Col du Portalet and Aubisque in valley of Ossau

Michelin map of tunnel of Monrepos

Michelin map of tunnel de Nueno

There you go a road warrior tour of magical countries that the world has come to know better; and I think I can say put my little grain of salt to add to the story. Spain and France or France and Spain. Enjoy the highways/motorways of them now!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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One Comment to “The tunnels of Monrepos and al.”

  1. Nice to see so much work is going on to link France and Spain even better. These tunnels will be very useful for our future travels into Spain. Thanks for sharing. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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