photos: Tenerife Cabildo
Updated 16 January 2017: The Tenerife Cabildo says that the new system, which came into force this Saturday, 14 January, will regulate traffic to the Punta de Teno on Saturdays, Sundays and fiestas between 10am and 5pm. The rest of the week, and outside of these times, the public will have full vehicular access to the area. In this first weekend, 431 people used the new Titsa route between Buenavista and Punta de Teno, and Tenerife president Carlos Alonso reiterated that the Cabildo’s objective is to ensure that the environment is respected through a sustainable system of access.
Updated 21 December 2016: After all the speculation that there would be very limited access on the road in the future, based just on the consultative exercises that were being carried out, we now know the actual situation of the future of the Teno road. The Tenerife Cabildo has announced today that the road will reopen this Friday, 23 December, and public traffic will only be restricted between 10am and 5pm at weekends and fiestas, i.e. the times of heaviest usage. The restrictions will come into force on 14 January, and during these times, only buses and vehicles with permits (eg agricultural vehicles) will be able to use the road: buses will cost €2 return. At all other times, public traffic will have free access.
Updated 11 August: The Cabildo has announced that repair works on the retaining wall that collapsed on the Teno road last month started on 1 August and are being carried out simultaneously with soundings to analyse the state of the remaining supporting wall. The results will determine whether it is also necessary to reinforce any other part of the stretch.
Cabildo Public Works chief Miguel Becerra said that the current phase of the works is intended to create a lorry lane by September so that the agricultural trade of the area, for which it’s renowned, can resume in time for the harvest. Becerra was on site accompanied by Cabildo Roads chief Ofelia Manjón and Buenavista mayor Eva García.
In this second phase the wall structure is being reinforced with a system of tie-bar rivets anchoring it to the mountainside. The works are being carried out by Traverca, a company that specializes in vertical operations. Becerra added that the Cabildo is also currently analysing the causes of the collapse, but that a variety of factors is more likely than a single cause.
Once the wall reinforcement is finished, the Cabildo will turn to tarmacking the road, and this will be a fairly rapid process since the contract for exactly this work had already been awarded before the collapse. It is expected that the road will be open around the end of the year, but studies are currently being carried out into the maximum capacity of the finished road, and whether daily visitor numbers will need to be restricted.
Updated 15 July: The Cabildo says that 67 stranded vehicles have been recovered throughout today through a single lane in an operation coordinatead by the Cabildo, Protección Civil and Buenavista Ayuntamiento, and overseen by the fire service after initial works were undertaken yesterday to shore up the bank. By 4pm, all but three vehicles had been recovered, those three still waiting owners to claim them.
In terms of ongoing works, Tenerife president Carlos Alonso said today that he thought that it will be the end of August or so before the road could be reopened, with works estimated to cost at least €500,000. The Cabildo will need to analyse how best to coordinate structural, tarmacking and drainage works, including securing the banking and stabilizing the 50-year-old wall which collapsed, he said.
Updated 5pm: The Tenerife Cabildo is to treat the repair of the TF445 as a matter of the utmost urgency, it says. The site was visited again today by Tenerife President Carlos Alonso, along with the head of Política Territorial, Sostenibilidad y Seguridad del Gobierno de Canarias, Nieves Lady Barreto, and the mayor of Buenavista, Eva García, to oversee the assessment of the damage and the decision-making process for the repair works. They were accompanied by the Cabildo chiefs of Roads and Public Works, Ofelia Manjon and Miguel Becerra respectively, and the Deputy Environment and Security head, Blanca Perez, as well as insular and municipal technicians.
President Alonso confirmed that they are considering how to transfer the 56 stranded vehicles which are stranded the far side of the collapse. “We have contacted the Army Engineers and technicians from the Cabildo and Buenavista Ayuntamiento”, he said, “for resources to improve access, but it won’t be possible to bridge over the gap because of the weight, and because it could cause further settling of the remaining road. We have chosen instead to reinforce the existing structure to guarantee the banking underneath”. In addition, the President said that tarmacking will be coordinated so that works can proceed simultaneously.
Cabildo Highways chief Ofelia Manjon said that another difficulty involved high-voltage lines, and that Unelco has scheduled power cuts tomorrow morning so that a company specialising in vertical works can get in to assess the damage and start clearing away rubble. Thereafter, a reinforced fibre concrete will be used to restore the carriageway. At that point the trapped vehicles would have a corridor through which to be released. This is hoped to be in place by Friday, with vehicles being removed one by one in an operation overseen by the bomberos.
For the moment, President Alonso concluded by thanking all the services involved in the incident since the collapse almost 24 hours ago.
Updated 13 July: Tenerife President Carlos Alonso, who was at the scene of the incident until the early hours, said that all evacuations – 174 people – were complete by around 1.30am, and no-one needed medical assistance. The road will remain closed until further notice. In the meantime, urgent investigations and repair works will be carried out, and provisions made to recover the vehicles left behind in the evacuations.
Updated 10.30pm: The Cabildo has activated its emergency plan (Plan Territorial Insular de Emergencias de Tenerife – PEIN) in response to the collapse of an 8m long and 4m wide section of the TF-445. No-one was injured, but some 150 people are stranded in the area, and are likely to remain so for some hours yet. Tenerife president Carlos Alonso activated the PEIN to allow the various services to be coordinated to resolve the situation.
President Alonso, together with Cabildo vicepresidente Aurelio Abreu, and Environment and Security councillor José Antonio Valbuena are all at the scene this evening since weather conditions have been assessed as unsuitable for their evacuation by sea. Involved in tonight’s efforts are two Bomberos units, three army helicopters, a Canarian Government search and rescue helicopter, three boats from Santiago del Teide, and teams from the Guardia Civil, Policía Local and Protección Civil, as well as Cruz Roja from Puerto de Garachico and Los Gigantes.
Rescue efforts will now be focused on creating a safe 3m wide “lifeline” to evacuate overland and by helicopter. Those rescued will be taken to Buenavista del Norte municipal sports centre in the first instance, and then taken to where they need to go. There will be further updates tomorrow morning.
Updated 12 July 2016: It has been reopened for a year, and this evening a part of the carriageway of the TF445 has collapsed leaving several people stranded on the Punta de Teno. Emergency services and Cabildo road teams are on site, and are assessing how to evacuate those in the area without any other means of egress. This photo from Proteccion Civil de La Matanza shows the collapse, and the following graphic from Carreteras shows where it took place.
Original post 27 July 2015: The Tenerife Cabildo has reopened the TF445 to Punta de Teno. As of this afternoon, the road is again open to traffic after technicians gave the go-ahead following extensive and extended works. Tenerife president Carlos Alonso thanked local residents and workers for their patience and said that the main objective was safety. The risk of rockfalls, which were a frquent danger, is estimated to have been reduced from 70% to 30%, with some four or five incidences a year now expected following heavy winds or rain.
Some works are still continuing, and the carriageway still has to be tarmacked, but from now, this iconic route in the north west tip of Tenerife, with its tunnels and archways, sheer cliffs and stunning views from what seems to be the end of the world, is open to the public once again.