Are fast lanes on motorway central reservations feasible? | Alejandro Sepulveda


One of the more controversial proposals in the transport plan for Majorca has been for fast lanes on stretches of motorway coming into Palma. These would be created on central reservations and be used by "vehicles of high occupancy".

There are some snags with this proposal. Mercedes Garrido, the Council of Majorca's councillor for infrastructure, says that a feasibility study will be needed. Consideration would need to be given to the "dimensions of Majorca". It is a small island and motorway exits are close together. If the fast lane is in the centre, then it would be necessary for vehicles to cross lanes of traffic. She nevertheless thinks that the proposal is a good one in that there is currently not enough thought given to Palma's public transport needs.

The dean of the college for roads, canals and ports engineers, Juan Antonio Esteban, believes that the proposal is positive from a social point of view but otherwise he questions it. There would be a high cost as well as difficulties in adapting existing road structures. With things as they currently are, he doesn't think that the proposal is viable. For it to be, there would need to be a space of more than nine metres. This would only be possible on certain sections. An alternative would be for the fast lane to be elevated, but he rejects this because of the cost and the scenic impact.

He accepts that the proposal could make sense for motorways which are "saturated". But in the case of the Llucmajor and Andratx motorways, which are the two for which the fast lane has been proposed, there isn't this saturation. "There may be measures equally useful but at a lower cost."