One person was killed and another four injured, two of them seriously, following a head-on collision between two cars on the N-332 main road near La Marina last week. This crash came exactly a year to the day when five vehicles collided in the area near to the desalination plant at Torrevieja.
Both these incidents, any many more besides, occurred on stretches of the road where there is one lane of traffic in each direction and no physical barrier between the two flows of traffic. For years campaigners have been fighting to have the Torrevieja section widened to two lanes in each direction, the same as the N-332 road on both sides of the town, although it has evolved more into a political Ping-Pong game than anybody actually taking responsibility and trying to enforce the change, not only in order to save lives, but also to ease the congestion that in inevitable at certain times of year, such as summer, when the road is brought to a standstill for much of the day.
In terms of the danger element, there is an argument that there is no such thing as a dangerous road, in the same way that many people argue that it´s not guns that kill people, it´s people who kill people. Those arguments carry some validity, but if anything can be done to reduce or eradicate danger, then it should be done.
There are laws on gun use which seemingly prevents a lot of intentional killings, there is also an element of morality in most civilised society that automatically prevents most people from wanting to intentionally take a life. However, there are also laws that should prevent drivers from speeding, driving too close, using their mobile phones, consuming alcohol, and many others, and although some actions are becoming socially unacceptable, it is still commonplace for the laws of the roads to be ignored, despite the fact that these laws are also intended to preserve life.
The good news is, and without pandering to any political point scoring, the widening of the road in the Torrevieja area may finally become a reality, as the mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, announced at a press conference the “release” of the administrative and technical stoppage, thus confirming that “there are no more excuses because the ministry of Public works and has all the documentation” and that the widening works “can start as soon as it is tendered”, a situation that Dolón described as “very satisfying”.
Dolón explained how the government has been active trying to involve all agencies and entities in order to ensure the project is completed in the optimum time, quoting letters he has written and a response from the Directorate General of Traffic “sharing” the concerns of the government on account of the route between kilometre marker posts 49 and 56 being a notorious black spot.
Dolón also described it as “shameful” that it has taken 20 years to reach this point, but once complete it should not only save countless lives on the roads it will also reinvigorate Torrevieja and its businesses to the benefit of all.
The situation will not yet change on any other parts of the road such as La Marina where this latest tragic incident took place, but through awareness of the dangers of the roads we can all try to do our bit in the meantime to try to keep everybody that little bit safer by ensuring safer driving at all times.