PART of the lower road into Altea was an isolated section of blue-painted cycle track. It began for no particular reason just before the smaller of the two bridges over the River Algar and ended just as arbitrarily on the other side. It gave a hundred or so metres of extra protection to cyclists going into town or returning and ended in a zebra crossing that enabled them to enter or leave the Camino Verde greenway for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Then a few days back without warning, the cycle lane markings disappeared and the blue surface was asphalted over. Theoretically the road is again open to traffic although only Cap Negret residents’ cars can pass the bollards protecting the greenway.

They have reason to be thankful for those bollards because this road became a rat-run to escape snarl-ups on the N-332, infamous as one of the busiest main roads in Spain.  

Like Benissa further along the coast, Altea is still waiting for a ring road and locals tended to use the Cap Negret road as a substitute even though in many places it was too narrow for two cars to pass.  

This was once the main Alicante road before the ‘new’ road, now the N-332, was built at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Long before that it was a Roman road, an offshoot of the Via Dianium which in turn was an offshoot of the Via Augusta, the great road that crossed Spain from the Pyrenees to Cadiz.

EURO WEEKLY