THE access bridge to Palma's new general hospital of Son Espases was officially opened yesterday by senior Balearic government figures amid predictions that it will be used by around 20'000 vehicles a day.
At 280 metres, the bridge is the longest on Majorca and was built in record time to decongest traffic wanting to get to the hospital both from Palma and outlying areas of the island at peak times.
The bridge, built by the Council of Majorca, soars over the hospital entrance roundabout, linking the Palma exit road directly with the route to Valldemossa and the Balearic University.
Key government figures at the opening yesterday were the President of the Council of Majorca, Francina Armengol; Central Government Delegate in the Balearic Islands, Ramon Socias; and regional Health Minister Vicens Thomas.
Armengol said that work on the bridge had begun on 21st May this year, and followed a rigorous timetable to ensure it was ready in time for this coming weekend when patients still being treated in the old general hospital of Son Dureta are transferred to Son Espases.
The bridge has cost 6.5 million euros and will be payable over a seven-year period after a Roads agreement was signed with Central Government's Ministry for Public Works.
The two-lane bridge was erected through the slotting together of 14 metallic sections, each between 16 and 20 metres long and weighing in total 400 tonnes. The ready-prepared units were brought over to Majorca by boat from the mainland. Armengol claimed that the bridge will provide a solution to the historic traffic problems which had been associated with the junction and will mean that there will now be a fast, safe and efficient means of getting in and out of Palma.
Health Minister Thomas pointed out that finding a solution to the Son Espases hospital access had not been easy and that it was not so long ago when political commentators had been referring to the bridge project as something of a milestone.
Success had been achieved, said Thomas, thanks to the close cooperation between local, regional and national governments.
The roundabout beneath the bridge, Thomas explained, will now be used exclusively for entrance to the hospital.