The road to Formentor collapased by cars. | R.L.

Mallorca news reports like nothing better than a good old ‘colapso’, especially when it applies to traffic. A colapso will often be as a result of a saturación - a saturation of tourists. In English, therefore, one can end up with a situation of collapse brought about by a saturation, when neither word, strictly speaking, is appropriate. Saturation in this context has started to seep into general English usage, and not just in Spain, but collapse, though it can apply to all sorts of things, has yet to truly extend to the pressure of traffic.

But there’s no real reason why it shouldn’t. A system can collapse, so why not a system of traffic? Let’s hear it, therefore, for collapse as opposed to gridlock, jams, tailbacks or whatever. And let’s hear it in particular, because we do so each summer, for the Formentor traffic.

There has already been some evidence of collapse and saturation, but when the annual restrictions start on June 1, they are supposed to prevent both of these unfortunate traffic situations. Supposed to, but don’t. However, the Council of Mallorca and the traffic directorate (DGT) have come up with a cunning plan to prevent colapso. Actually, the idea for the plan has been Pollensa town hall’s. For the last couple of years, it has been proposing a system of automated barriers to permit access to the Formentor road. The Council and the DGT have listened to the town hall pleas. Barriers there will be.

It hasn’t been stated where these barriers will be situated, but one assumes they will be at the military base roundabout, which has been taken to be - in previous years - where the peninsula road begins. So, when these barriers are installed and operational, what is going to happen? Well, they will open automatically, as if by magic, every time that an authorised vehicle appears. And appear from where, as these authorised vehicles may well find themselves in queues of unauthorised vehicles. Colapso.
The barriers will also magically be raised when they detect some parking spaces at Formentor beach. Which sounds perfectly sensible, but not if there are long lines of cars waiting for a space to be detected. Of course, if drivers had any sense, they wouldn’t queue. They could park and take the shuttle bus, which may get stuck in the queues of cars whose drivers haven’t had any sense.

In principle, the barriers do offer a decent solution. In practice, the Council and the DGT may need to iron out some wrinkles, both of them saying that the objectives are to regulate access and to try and prevent fines because drivers (without authorisation) are unaware that as soon as they pass the military base roundabout, their number plates will be caught on camera.

But there is an inherent contradiction here. Unauthorised vehicles will be allowed through in order to firstly fill the car park and to secondly occupy a space as and when it becomes available. And they will all end up being fined unless they follow the weird loophole of sending the DGT a copy of a parking ticket and image of the number plate. This combination nullifies a fine, assuming that the combination is sent in time.

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Why are any unauthorised vehicles let through, then? The reason has to be the car park. The Hotel Formentor company and town hall have been in dispute as to who manages the car park, but it makes no difference who does - there’s revenue to be raised. The simplest solution of not allowing any unauthorised vehicles isn’t pursued because there is a financial gain. And the consequence is ... colapso.

Where the Albercutx watchtower on the Formentor peninsula is concerned, it is apparently at risk of some collapse. The town hall is urging the Council of Mallorca’s heritage department to intervene and to “guarantee the preservation, maintenance and custody of the emblematic monument in the municipality”.

Declared an asset in the cultural interest in 1993, meaning that it should be properly preserved, the watchtower was one of many that was built to keep a lookout for Ottoman pirates. Two summers ago, when sunset excursions were all the rage in Formentor (which was why the traffic restrictions were extended to 10.30pm), the watchtower was the location for a DJ party. This was just one of a number of incidents on the peninsula that were denounced because of saturation.

And returning to traffic, a reminder that it is the Ironman 70.3 on Saturday. Collapse shouldn’t happen because there has been plenty of advance notice, but there will probably be some. It is Puerto Alcudia which is mainly affected, given that closures start from before 8am and that there are parking prohibitions from 1am.

The first electrical cable in Mallorca

No al cable’- Town hall accused of “passivity”

The latest on the mainland cable is that the VAAC association of residents affected by the cable has complained that Alcudia’s mayor, Domingo Bonnín, has not “lifted a finger” in helping them. This criticism is based on the fact that certain motions passed at council meetings have not been complied with. Bonnín has taken exception to accusations of having hidden things but does accept that some motions haven’t been carried out.

The cable, one guesses, will be (or should be) an election issue - for some people anyway. But regardless of this latest criticism, it’s hard to know which party would be any better. Generally speaking, there has been consensus among parties at the town hall.

Meanwhile, I’ve received information about the first of the mainland cables, which was brought online in Santa Ponsa in 2013. There were in fact two high-voltage cables with a transmission capacity of 200 MW. (There was also a metal return cable.) The converter substation in Santa Ponsa, which is by the Son Bugadelles industrial estate, occupies some 15,000 square metres. This had to be built, whereas the substation in Alcudia already exists. On the industrial estate by the Es Murterar power station, it occupies 20,000 square metres.