Málaga County Council allocates 3m euros to the reconstruction of El Caminito del Rey in order to open the path for public use in 2015
Provincial Governement, the Andalusian Regional Governement, the Municipalities of Ardales, Álora and Antequera start with the reconstruction of this historical route and an international tourist hotspot.
Today, the Provincial Governement, the Andalusian Regional Governement, the Municipalities of Ardales, Álora and Antequera have announced the start of the works on El Caminito del Rey path, a project that includes reconstruction of the hanging boardwalk of historical interest, and building of the control points at the ends of the path. The cost of the project is to be fully paid from the County Council’s budget, and it comprises the sum of 3m euros. It aims to open the boardwalk at the beginning of 2015.
County Council President Elías Bendodo and the representative of the Public Works and Arquitecture County Council Department, Ignacio Mena, have presented the most important details of the project together with the Environmental Department Representative from the Andalusian Government, Javier Carnero, and mayors of the above municipalities, Juan Calderón (Ardales), José Sánchez (Álora) and Manuel Barón (Antequera). The project, which is being done by the County Council, is at the final stage. This means that the administrative process is to be complete this year so the works could be initiated in 2014.
This 1.2 kilometres long historic route that goes over the Gaitanes Gorge was built for King Alfonso XIII at the beginning of the 20th century. Project deadline is ten months from its beginning. The boardwalk is going to be built of wooden panels with metallic moorings and will be drilled in the rock above the current concrete cornice.
Mr Bendodo explained that, following this method, the structure would imitate the landscape, it would be easier to be built, it would have low environmental impact, simple maintenance, and its construction would be faster than others. Some of the parts are going to be transparent so the visitors can see the old bridge, which is not going to be removed. ‘We will achieve to change El Caminito del Rey, a forbidden and dangerous spot, into a trail that can be enjoyed by everyone,’ Mr Bendodo said.
Workers who climb the Gorge
The building technique is planned to be similar to the one used during the construction of the first Caminito del Rey between 1901 and 1905, when the workers were hanging from the rock of the gorge while making the path. The project will be opened for public this summer. For that purpose, the Andalusian Government, which is responsible for regional planning, will soon give necessary permissions, according to Mr Carnero.
The County Council has received offers by the companies that are specialized in this kind of constructions. They need to be aware of the environmental impact assessment that forbids works during vultures nesting time in spring.
Mr Bendodo said that the project has a second phase, which is currently active, and comprises the building of an interpretation centre and a car park, and the improvement of the access routes as well. He added that: ‘the County Council, the Andalusian Government and involved Municipalities cannot allow any longer that people from Málaga and tourists do not enjoy this nature treasure safely .’
The Mayor of Ardales recapped that the project of reconstruction and mending of el Caminito del Rey has been processed for decades, and that the conclusion of this process will give the area and the province a top tourist and sport hotspot. The Mayors of Antequera and Álora highlighted that the towns need this to happen as soon as possible so to improve their economic condition.
All the politicians who met today at the County Council Headquarters emphasized that the Caminito del Rey reconstruction project was finally going to be developed thanks to the institutional cooperation and a common interest in reclaiming one of the most symbolic and historic monument in the province.
‘The importance of this initiative is huge because el Caminito del Rey is worldwide known’, the County Council President said. Moreover, this area is with good connections thanks to a railway, and it is surrounded by other important hotspots, such as Bobastro Ruins. ‘When it gets open in 2015, everybody will be able to go over the gorge as Alfonso XIII did in 1921’, he concluded.