THE TUNNEL: BEFORE AND AFTER
Prior to the construction of the Túnel d'Envalira there was only one road that connected the Principality of Andorra with the south of France; this road runs through the Port d'Envalira, an extremely winding road with grades of over 8% and a maximum altitude of 2,408 metres above sea level.
The need to strengthen connections with France and to offer new transport solutions to the people of Pas de la Casa goes back a long way. There was already talk of this dual objective in Andorra in the 1950s, and in 1963 the call for tenders for the preliminary design of the Túnel d'Envalira was announced.
Studies, research, several proposals and negotiations went on for years until, on 1 June 1999, companies FCC and NECSO broke ground for the construction of the tunnel on the Grau Roig side and on 2 August of the same year on the Pas de la Casa side.
Since then, projects have been implemented to improve the facilities in order to bring them into line with the new safety recommendations.
Today, with the Túnel d'Envalira, we can talk about a new connection that provides greater fluidity, road safety and faster travel times. Additionally, communications between Pas de la Casa and the rest of the Principality are permanent.
RELEVANT FACTS AND FIGURES
- 1963: Call for tenders for the preliminary design of the Túnel d'Envalira Tunnel. French engineers Semet and Phillip were the winners.
- 1967: The Co-Prince of Andorra, Charles De Gaulle, expresses the need to build the Túnel d'Envalira.
- 1968: The French government draws up a preliminary survey entitled "Liaison routière permanente entre l'Andorre et la France" (Permanent Road Link between Andorra and France).
- 1979: A meeting is held in Paris and the initiative is taken to study the possible implementation of the project.
- 1983: The Andorran government awards the first technical and economic survey of this route.
- 1985: The route between Grau Roig and Pas de la Casa is approved.
- 1992: The “Project for the Túnel d'Envalira Tunnel and entrances. Preliminary detailed design” is drawn up on commission from the Department of Public Services of Andorra.
- 1995: The General Council approves the system for the construction, operation and maintenance of the Túnel d'Envalira via an administrative concession.
- 1997: The concession is provisionally awarded to the group formed by the companies CUBIERTAS, ENTRECANALES, FCC, BANCA REIG and BBV.
- 1998: The General Council approves the "Law for the construction of the Túnel d'Envalira by administrative concession" and the Government decrees the definitive award of the concession.
- 28 September: The company "Túnel d'Envalira, S.A." is incorporated.
- 2 October: The concession contract is signed.
- 1999: The Government approves the " Túnel d'Envalira Tunnel and entrances. Basic construction project" presented by the concessionaire.
- 1 June: Construction work begins on the tunnel.
- 26 September 2002: Inauguration of the tunnel and it opens to traffic.
- 2012: On 7 December 2012, the Service and Evacuation Gallery was opened to comply with European Directive 2004/54/EC and improve the safety and functionality of the Túnel d'Envalira.
- 2016: Work is completed on the new roundabout between the tunnel’s east entrance and the viaduct over the Arièje river.
- 2012-2020 - Between 2012 and March 2020 Túnel d’Envalira was managed by Globalvia.
- On March 4 2020 Globalvia completes the divestment operation of its stake in Túnel d’Envalira.
The company is acquired by a group of private investors with the financial support of the andorran bank Crèdit Andorrà. Túnel d’Envalira has a working method and procedures to carry out its activity responsibly by developing and implementing an Integrated Management System. Túnel d’Envalira is managed and directed from Andorra.