The Supreme Court takes an unprecedented decision: trucks will be able to return to the roads of La Rioja

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The Supreme Court has annulled the decree that forbade trucks to drive on the conventional roads of La Rioja, considering it "orphan of justification", so that now will allow the circulation of heavy vehicles on all roads of the autonomous community.

The Contentious Administrative Chamber has estimated the appeal of the logistic company Grupo Logístico Arnedo, based in La Rioja, which alleged the economic damage suffered daily by having prohibited access to the two national roads N-232 and N-124 of the Rioja and have their trucks to pass through the AP-68, paying the corresponding toll, every day of the year.

This decree prohibited the circulation of heavy vehicles on the general highways of the region and diverted them to the AP-68 toll road on the Zambrana-Tudela section, in order to improve the functionality, the safety of the road corridor and to decongest the traffic of vehicles from the two national roads, in addition to improving the noise pollution in the affected urban sections.

But the Supreme Court, in a sentence that has been speaker Celsa Pico, explains that the eventual notoriety of noise pollution, traffic congestion and accidents on conventional roads are not sufficient in themselves to agree this measure since under the apparent notoriety, "could determine the application of such measures in all conventional ways without justification of the concrete circumstances".

The Chamber recalls that the compulsory use of a toll road implies "a restriction on the free movement of a certain group of vehicles that are subject to a tax such as the aforementioned mandatory use, even if it is partially subsidized by the administrations". Such requirement – adds the sentence – "must be justified in the relevant studies that prove that the measures agreed are the most appropriate for the purpose sought".

In this regard, the magistrates note that the argument of traffic congestion and pollution "is orphan justification" because the obstruction of traffic by accumulation of vehicles, however unpleasant for drivers is not equal to the concept high accident rate in the road that mentions accidents and lethal results for people.

The court concludes that a measure such as that contested, "which obliges transport companies such as the appellant to necessarily go to the toll road, even with the established bonuses, needs an accreditation here absent given the prohibition, not simple temporary limitation / circulation time ».

Because the Chamber recalls that unlike in this case, on certain roads in neighboring countries there are notorious limitations and prohibitions on the movement of heavy vehicles, "although they usually have their reason for being in specific and specific actions that they restrict access on holiday dates, weekends, etc. "

In the same sense, the Court adds that the measure lacked legal coverage on the date of its adoption, so that it is not possible to retroactively apply the amendment of the Highway Law on urgent measures in the area of ​​roads, which allows For reasons of road safety or environmental, the mandatory diversion of heavy vehicles on certain roads. .

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