Ferrovial La ingeniería civil como arte: creatividad e innovación

At the Foot of a Magic Mountain

Manresa, Spain

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At the foot of the Montserrat, among the sharp rocks that hide fossil footprints from another time is a highway connecting Barcelona and the Mediterranean with inner Catalonia and France, and from there, the rest of Europe.

The first section of the C-16 cuts through the stone in the mountain. The Autema highway, as it’s also known, goes from San Cugat del Vallés to Manresa, passing through Terrassa and Sant Vicenç de Castellet.

Surrounded by the forest of oaks and laurestines typical of Montserrat, the highway crosses seven underground tunnels, allowing traffic to bypass the mountains surrounding Barcelona’s metropolitan area. The Vallvidrera, the first slope outside of the Catalan capital, is actually a chain of five tunnels under the Collserola mountain range (the longest is 2,517 meters).

The pines, valleys, and caves of Montserrat give the mountain a magical feeling. Perhaps that’s what inspired the legend of the Virgin of the Holy Cave there. Beyond the myths, the mountain cannot be understood without spirituality.

The 48.3 kilometers of asphalt at its foot can’t avoid this part of its history, either. As a result, the Autema Highway’s management has worked with the Fundación Abadía de Montserrat, the foundation for the abbey there, for the last 15 years. Donations have been used to expand and computerize the monastery library, restore its buildings, and improve mobility between the sanctuary’s areas.

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