Updated 8 October: The Cabildo has released this video of the preparatory works so far, including as you will see the drilling to place the first dynamite in the rock wall to be opened up.
Updated 7 October: A considerable amount of preparatory work has been taking place over the past couple of months and today the Canarian Government and Cabildo have jointly announced that the Erjos tunnel that will link Santiago del Teide and El Tanque has finally been started.
Canarian Government public works Minister Sebastián Franquis said that today was historic because this area had been the victim of much talk and no action for far too long and, with the tunnel actually starting to be excavated today following the preparation of the ground for the heavy machinery needed, at last the tunnel was actually happening. At 5.1km, it will be the longest in the Canaries, crossing the Teno massif without any surface effects on the Teno Rural Park. Works are estimated to take around 32 months, with the road to be completed and in use within four years in all.
Some 70 workers, 27 of them excavation specialists, will now proceed in a constant form of rotating shifts to tunnel an average of four metres a day at each of the tunnel mouths. They will be using a dozen specialized machines including the so-called jumbo, vehicles that drill and prepare the holes for the bores, as well as normal excavators, to advance in stages blasting and dilling mechanicallly to create the tunnel’s two tubes. Each of these will be 13m wide to facilitate two carriageways and a pavement for emergency evacuation: the width is intended, clearly, to allow for a third lane in the future. There will also be 19 transversal galleries connecting both tubes for emergency situations. The spoil from the excavations will be used to fill former quarries which will be restored as required by environmental requirements stipulated in the licensing granted for the works.
The regional Government says that the tunnel’s budget of €240,370,796 makes the closing of the Tenerife ring road not only the largest project currently being undertaken by the Canarian Government but the most valuable in the whole of Spain.
🎥 Hoy se han iniciado los trabajos para la construcción del túnel de Erjos, perteneciente al tramo entre Santiago del Teide y El Tanque del Anillo Insular.
— Obras Públicas GobCan (@obras_GobCan) October 7, 2020
Updated 16 August 2020: Well it’s not quite a year since the last update! But works have been going on in this meantime and now we are informed that the final works on the final stretch of the ring road are at last to be undertaken. Works will begin in a month’s time on the El Tanque-Santiago del Teide tunnel, and are expected to continue virtually round the clock with a completion date anticipated for late 2023. It will have taken some 15 years and over a quarter of a billion Euros but finally, the insular TF1 will be finished, the one ring to to bring them all and in the darkness bind them … the north and south of Tenerife united at last.
Updated 25 November 2019: They said second half of November and they are as good as their word. Works have started today to complete Tenerife’s motorway ring road with a budget of €240m; the Canarian Government says that it hopes to have the works completed well within its maximum timescale of four years. The first stage, now underway, is the preparation of the ground to create access for the heavy machinery which will be needed to excavate the Erjos tunnel, set to be the longest in the Canaries.
Updated 1 October: Works on the final stage of the motorway ring road will start in the second half of next month, the Canarian Government’s Minister for Public Works, Sebastián Franquis, has announced. Franquis confirmed that of the 11 km stretch, 5km will be through the “Erjos tunnel”, the whole joining the current end of the TF1 at Santiago del Teide and that of the TF5 at El Tanque, with two junctions for Santiago del Teide itself and El Tanque.
Updated 6 August 2019: There were suggestions that a President from the south might make a difference in a few respects, and today, within weeks of the appointment of former Guía de Isora mayor Pedro Martín as President of Tenerife, comes the announcement that it’s now full steam ahead for the completion of the motorway ring road by closing the stretch between Santiago del Teide and El Tanque. The announcement was made at a press conference called by the insular chief along with Roads councillor Enrique Arriaga and the Canarian Government’s public works minister Sebastián Franquis.
The three said that from today they are planning, organizing and informing the public of what will be happening soon, with the priority on clearing technical and bureaucratic obstacles so that works can start at the end of November barring any unexpected problems, and thus utilising existing environmental permits. President Martín said that the plans he had inherited were for a three-lane road, like the chicken run between the Vera de Erques junction and Santiago del Teide, and that he would be working in parallel for a new projectto widen it.
Updated 26 November 2018: The Canarian Government has announced this afternoon that it has approved the finance for contracts to be awarded for works to close the island ring road. As I posted in August, contracts will be invited by tender before the end of the year, and today’s announcement provides the funds – some €365m to join the end of the TF1 at Santiago del Teide with the end of the TF5 at El Tanque. For his part, Tenerife president Carlos Alonso said that the works will include a tunnel, the Erjos Tunnel, which at 5km will be the longest in the Canaries.
Updated 9 August 2018: It’s a year and half since the original post below and at last we now have confirmation that works to complete the island motorway ring road – the anillo insular – will be put out to tender by the end of this year. The Canarian Government’s Transport Minister Pablo Rodríguez says that the work is one of the most important in Tenerife and has a €300m budget, with a project and environmental impact declaration already in place. As a “motorway”, funded by Madrid as part of national infrastructure, it will link north and south by closing the 11.3km motorway gap between the TF1 at Santiago del Teide and the TF5 at El Tanque, part of which will be a 5km tunnel at Erjos that will be the longest tunnel in the Canaries and one of the longest in the whole of Spain. The stretch will have junctions at El Tanque and Santiago del Teide, and the speed limit will be 80 km/h.
Original post 3 March 2017: There is only one stretch of motorway left to complete now before Tenerife can claim its anillo insular (island ring road), and that is between Santiago del Teide, where the TF1 currently ends, and El Tanque, where the TF5 starts. The road has been promised for years, and back in 2009 a firm commitment was given that it would be finished by 2015, but now the Tenerife Cabildo and Canarian Government have come to an agreement that should see the works completed.
The Government and Cabildo will work together, with the former overseeing and directing the works which will be carried out by the Cabildo, it was announced yesterday by the Government’s minister for public works, Pablo Rodríguez, and Tenerife President Carlos Alonso. Alonso explained that the Cabildo would finance half of the funding for the road, some €300m, with the other half coming from the regional Government’s Canarian Development Fund (Fondo de Desarrollo de Canarias (Fdcan)).
The legal agreement is now being drawn up, and the original technical project is being brought up to date. President Alonso said that he was confident that works could be put out to tender before the end of this year. Pablo Rodríguez for his part said that the agreement was simply “common sense” since the money was already in place for the project, and the Government would make it happen.