The key to travelling on the N332 through Torrevieja and the Orihuela Costa during the summer.
Every day between late June and the end of September, thousands of drivers make this journey in their endeavours to get to enjoy the beaches, restaurants or the commercial centres that attract residents from across the entire province, as well as deep into the heartlands of Murcia.
The traffic increases considerably between mid-morning and mid-afternoon with the only alternative when travelling from the north the two tolls on the AP-7, separated by a distance of just 13 kms, which total 7.40 euros in each direction.
The motorway is undoubtedly the fastest option but it forces families to dig deep into their pockets when travelling between the municipalities of Los Montesinos and La Zenia.
In low season the price is more affordable: 2.10 euros each time the barrier is lifted. In high season, however, the cost goes up to 3.70 euros. In total, 14.80 euros per round trip.
The concessionaire, Autopista de Sureste, Concesionaria Española de Autopistas SA, applied the increase in rates on 1 June, which it will maintain for four months, until September 30. The same increase in rates will also be applied for 17 further days around Holy Week.
This situation ensures that most drivers who want to travel to Orihuela Costa from nearby towns such as Pilar de la Horadada, or the nearby Murcia towns of San Pedro del Pinatar and San Javier, leave the AP-7 at Dehesa de Campoamor, where they join the N332.
And it’s the same for the many thousands of visitors who come to the beaches or to visit one of the most impressive shopping centres in the province, at La Zenia Boulevard. These leave the motorway at Ciudad Quesada and Torrevieja so as to ensure that they don’t have to pay the toll.
Although traditionally the second half of August registers fewer visitors to the Vega Baja, the traffic jams still continue, so there is still no alternative for the region’s drivers other than to exercise patience or to dig deep, once again, into your wallet and continue to feed the appetite of the motorway concessionaire.
Alternatively you could always pray for rain!
The government has announced, however, that it will take control of the road, but not until 2019! At that time the tolls will be scrapped which will then see many more drivers using the AP7 and taking some of the pressure off the N332.