Scut Azores Highway
Ferrovial is undertaking one of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of the Portuguese Archipelago of the Azores, the Scut Azores highway.
Cintra was originally awarded the highway concession in 2006 and currently fellow group company Ferrovial Agroman is drawing the final phases of the project to an end. With all of the highway segments forecast to be open to traffic by December 2011, the highway already represents an incredible feat of engineering work, principally due to its technical complexity.
- 27 viaducts
- 185 m maximum height
The new backbone of the archipelago
The Euroscut Açores highway, currently under construction, will be 93.7 km long and is designed on three main axes. The southern axis connects the airport with the south of the Island. The northern axis improves the connection between the Island’s two biggest towns. And lastly the north-eastern axis improves connection with Sâo Miguel’s less developed population centers.
Commitment to the community
The opening of this highway to traffic will reduce access to the business centre, university and hospitals by half, with the evident benefits that this will entail for the inhabitants of Sâo Miguel.
Moreover, during the construction phase protection has been included for an area of beaches which will not be exploited by Cintra once the highway is finished.
A unique project
This is one of Portugal’s most complex engineering projects. The geography of the Island reflects its volcanic origins, and it was necessary to find some creative solutions involving high investment in infrastructures. The highway is remarkable for its 27 viaducts, especially the Despe-te que suas overpass with its 185 metres between main pillars.
A sustainable highway in an area of high ecological value
In order to protect ecological capital and to foster integration with the landscape of the Island, rainwater run-off pools have been developed, the contents of which will be analysed three times a year. Since the Island’s own volcanic stone has been used in their construction, they are well integrated, as are the walls for protection of pastures, agricultural land and forests, all made from the same material.
Measures for landscape integration
The landscape which the motorway crosses is made up of a variety of fields, agricultural land and forests, which flow in a harmonious and orderly manner. In order to have the least possible impact on such natural harmony, Cintra submitted a landscape integration project with a range of measures for boosting such integration.
Moreover, to minimise the risk of flooding, 15 runoff retention tanks were built. Embankments and cleared areas were subject to hydroseeding, and endemic trees and shrubs were planted.
This is just one more example of Cintra’s excellent track record in minimising visual impact through landscape integration.
Measures for noise reduction
Some of the measures for noise reduction are the following:
- Noise screening: These screens act as a barrier between emitter and receiver, reducing the noise to below levels allowed by law. Moreover, the materials used and characteristics of such screens are adapted to each specific area, and range from reflective perspex screens to screens made of absorbent porous concrete.
- Elastic road surface: In this case, the aim with elastic road surfacing is to minimise traffic noise produced by the friction between car tyres and road surfaces. Cintra currently has 500 km of roads where this type of road surface is used.
- Noise map: all European motorways managed by Cintra with more than 3,000,000 cars/year have a strategic noise map and relevant plan of action, thus complying with Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise.
The aim of these measures is to reduce noise levels from traffic in noise-sensitive areas, such as population centres or environmentally protected areas.