Expatica news

Madrid shuts down for wedding

17 May 2004

MADRID – A dozen of the main roads in Madrid will be closed off a day before the Royal Wedding, authorities announced Monday.

The main roads include La Gran Via, Calle Alcalá, El paseo del Prado and Calle Alfonso XII.

Authorities are to close these roads from 21-22 May.

These are just part of a major disruption to the transport system caused by the extensive security precautions for the Royal Wedding.

Crown Prince Felipe is to marry former television presenter Letizia Ortiz in a ceremony which is attracting unprecedented security.

In the wake of the 11 March terrorist bombings in Madrid, at least 18,000 police will be guarding the Royal party.

Most of Europe’s Royal families will be attending along with most European heads of state. 

A Nato AWACS spy-plane will circle overhead as part of the security arrangement for the Wedding.

Air space around the capital will be restricted apart from military or prearranged commercial flights.

Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, mayor of Madrid, and head of security, Pedro Calvo, presented a plan Monday to keep traffic from grinding to halt in the days before the wedding as the preparations are finalised.

One security measure will see the route lined with huge boards, showing classic paintings by Spanish masters like Velasquez and Goya.

They are designed to block the possible eye-line of a sniper as well as provide an attractive back-drop to the wedding route. 

The Royal household has not confirmed the route which will take the couple from the Almudena Cathedral, where they will exchange vows, to the Royal Palace.

All trains will be free on 22 May from the start of the ceremony to 4pm in the afternoon to help people move around the capital more freely.

Authorities recommended other routes to drivers in the days leading up to the ceremony.

The road closures start from 9am on 21 May, when drivers will not be able to use Calle de San Quintín.

From 4pm the same day, roads will be shut on  Bailén, Plaza de la Marina Española, Plaza de España and on the Gran Vía both ways.

Traffic will also be restricted between Plaza de España and Gran Vía up to Calle de Alcalá.

Public transport will be working until 9pm on Friday 21 May.

After this time, private cars and taxis will be stopped from using in Calle Alcalá (from Gran Vía to Calle Cibeles), Paseo del Prado, Glorieta del Emperador Carlos V, Paseo de la Infanta Isabel and Avenida de la Ciudad de Barcelona.

La calle de Alfonso XII will be completely closed on the day of the Wedding.

There will also be restrictions on Calles Ríos Rosas, Islas Filipinas, Avenida de los Reyes Católicos, Puerta de Hierro, the A-6; and from La Moncloa Palace (Puerta de Hierro) until El Pardo.

On the mainline and metros, from 1.30pm on the day of the day of the wedding, the stations of Plaza de España, Callao, Gran Vía, Banco de España and Atocha will be closed.

Other closures or alternative routes will be announced and there will be sign-posts to show people which lines will be open.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news