Improvements to the A-66 Highway Access to the City of Oviedo | Asturias, Spain
Located approximately 12 miles south of the Cantabrian Sea, Oviedo is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain and the administrative and commercial center of the region. Oviedo contains a very rich architectural history, with many buildings dating back to the early medieval period.
The northern access to Oviedo via the A-66 freeway creates a barrier between two sides of the city and causes a break in the urban fabric, which includes a remarkable architectural element, the Romanesque Church of San Julián de los Prados. Constructed during the reign of Alfonso II (791-842), it is one of the best preserved churches in the city and the archeologically protected area around it provides an important urban greenspace. However, heavy traffic and congestion on the road produce frequent traffic jams and high pollution in the area, while the monument’s close proximity to the freeway subjects its stone facade to damage from harmful gases. Improving the environmental conditions surrounding this main access to the city requires an intervention that channels traffic away from the area.
Louis Berger was commissioned by the Government of Asturias to provide a new design for the A-66 freeway that will knit together the dissected urban fabric of Oviedo while addressing environmental concerns. The proposed solution calls for lowering the elevation of the road surface and covering the section that passes by the Church of San Julián de los Prados. Thus, a new urban area will be created that highlights the church and surrounds while acting as a connector between the residential areas now divided by the freeway. The project also includes the design of a new roundabout structured in three levels that will improve the fluidity of the traffic in what is now a highly congested junction.