THE Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda (Mitma) has approved the route into the centre of Bilbao for the high-speed line from Vitoria.

Following an environmental impact assessment and public consultation, Mitma has approved Option 1 or the eastern route, running for 6.87km from Basauri to new underground platforms beneath Bilbao Abando station.

The selected route runs in tunnel from the high-speed line’s bridge over the Nervión river at Lapatza.

On February 9 2022 Mitma signed an agreement with infrastructure manager Adif, its high-speed counterpart Adif AV, the Basque regional government and Bilbao city council to work together on high-speed access to Bilbao.

The aim was to coordinate and accelerate work on the project, taking into account the major redevelopment that the council is planning for the area around the current railway terminus at Bilbao Abando.

Selection of the preferred route for the final section of the 90.8km Vitoria - Bilbao high-speed line has met the first commitment made under this agreement, Mitma says, and opens the way for the rest of the project to proceed.

Vitoria - Bilbao and the branch from Bergara to San Sebastián to Irún on the French border form the Basque Y project which is expected to be completed in 2024, 18 years after construction began.

Elsewhere in Spain, Adif has awarded a joint venture of Lantania and ASCH Infraestructuras y Servicios a €21.3m contract to lay new 1435mm-gauge track for high-speed trains on the existing 1668mm-gauge route running for 8.8km from Chamartín station to Madrid Barajas Airport.

This will include laying 3.5km of single track from Chamartín to the tunnel beneath the A1 motorway, and provide dual gauge in the northern bore of the tunnel from there to the airport.

The January issue of IRJ includes an in-depth examination of high-speed rail in Spain.

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