• Through this multi-disciplinary commission, the Ministry of Public Works and the Xunta de Galicia work together to improve locations where the Way of St. James intersects with national and autonomous community roads
• At the meeting, Turismo de Galicia presented the various signage and upgrade projects carried out on the Way of St. James with the aim of ensuring the safety of pilgrims
• For its part, the Ministry of Public Works is conducting the necessary studies for crossing, adaptation, refurbishment and walkway projects on different roads
This morning, the Office of the Government of Galicia was the location for a meeting of the Road Safety Commission for the Way of St. James, created in July 2015. This is a multi-disciplinary commission, through which the Ministry of Public Works and the Xunta de Galicia work together to improve locations where the Way of St. James intersects with national and autonomous community roads.
This meeting included discussion of the situation at several trouble spots in the four Galician provinces. It was reported that one of them had been resolved and that other projects aimed at achieving proper road safety along the Way of St. James are at the study or drafting stage.
Turismo de Galicia reported on the various actions carried out on the pilgrimage routes to help improve pilgrim safety.
In this area, it highlighted last year’s completion of signage and improvement work on the French Route to adapt it to the official delimitation, including the creation of several paths, such as at Pedrafita, which remove pilgrims from the road.
In addition, it noted that in 2017, the organization will continue with these development activities, implementing the new signage regulations on the Northern Route, Primitive Route, English Route and Fisterra–Muxía Route.
It also reported on the actions to support upgrades to the Camino, highlighting items such as the partnership agreement with the French Route Municipal Association to provide economic support in this area, as well as the clearing and cleaning service contract for the other routes of the Way of St. James in Galicia, with a new comprehensive maintenance contract for the Camino in Galicia currently out to tender.
Additionally, Turismo de Galicia completed refurbishment work along the French Route in the municipalities of O Pino, Samos, Portomarín, Palas de Rei, Melide, Arzúa and Paradela.
Improvements were also made along the Primitive Route in the municipalities of A Fonsagrada and Baleira, as well as road surfacing work in the centre of A Canda, which lies on the Galician border on the Vía de la Plata Route.
In 2017, Turismo de Galicia also plans to complete development work at Monte del Gozo and begin upgrades on the Camino approaches to Santiago de Compostela through the Xunta de Galicia Infrastructure Agency.
Last year, Turismo de Galicia also continued to promote prevention and awareness among pilgrims around road safety with the distribution of reflective backpack covers.
Ministry of Public Works actions
For its part, in 2015 the Ministry of Public Works took action to augment and improve vertical signage at major trouble spots where pilgrims on the French Route cross the N-547. The speed limit was also reduced at points crossed by the Way of St. James, which receive over 1,000 pilgrims each day, and LED warning signs were installed at the pedestrian and pilgrim crossing, reinforcing the existing signage.
In view of the need to make general improvements on this N road where it intersects with the Camino, plans are being processed for construction of underground walkways and approaches where the Way of St. James intersects with the N-547 at six points with especially high traffic volumes.
Also in the works are plans to alter the intersection with the N-550 Faramello Sur, in Rios, improving safety for both drivers and pilgrims by changing the existing intersection and lengthening the acceleration lane, as well as creating a parallel pedestrian path protected on both sides.
In the province of Ourense, on the Vía de la Plata where it runs through the locality of Carballeda, in Piñor, the vertical signage will be improved along both sides of the road, installing warning signs. The characteristics of this section and the 50 km/h speed limit make it possible for cars and pedestrians to share the road.
Lastly, in the province of Pontevedra, the Ministry of Public Works will be drawing up plans to improve road safety and accessibility along the stretch of the N-551 where it intersects with the N-550 and the International Bridge at Tui (Portuguese border), as well as adapting it in keeping the historical and cultural value of this section, part of the Portuguese Route of the Way of St. James and an approach road to the city.
In addition, plans are being drafted for construction of a flyover for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic along the Portuguese Route at the access road to the N-550 from the A-52.
The Ministry is also putting together construction plans for another walkway on the Portuguese Route at Caldas de Reis, over the Umia River, in order to separate pedestrian and vehicle traffic, improving pedestrian comfort and safety.