You are here

How will Ibiza's controversial road works affect you?

The Matutes interview.

Visitors to Ibiza in 2006 will have to negotiate an ambitious set of road works. Critics say the €400 million+ project is too much for a small island. Those in charge contend it's essential to improve safety and that island residents were the ones who asked for it in the first place. In the first of a two part series we examine an issue that has brought riot police out to protect the diggers.

an unharmed digger, San Jordi

an unharmed digger, San Jordi

The thoroughfare through the heart of this island is the San Antonio to Ibiza Town road. Along it lies the small village of San Rafael, the 10,000 capacity Privilege (home to Manumission), and the only slightly more compact Amnesia which hosts Cocoon on Mondays, La Troya on Wednesdays, and Cream on Thursdays among others.

Right now it's a mess. Commuters must pass through San Raf itself while a tunnel is constructed which will route traffic underground from the top of the hill (if you're travelling south east towards I-Town) to an exit point past Privilege. In the meantime drivers queue for more than a kilometre at peak traffic hours.

Over by Ibiza's only airport the situation is similar. A road is being constructed which bypasses the village of San Jordi on its way to Ibiza Town. Currently traffic is routed through Playa d'en Bossa or the San Josep road. There are also lanes closed on Avda. Ocho de Agosto outside Pacha.

aerial map of San Jordi works

aerial map of San Jordi works

Opposition to the works has been fierce. Last week there was a strike, earth-moving equipment has been torched and widely-supported public protests have been regular occurences. The most recent of these was two Sundays ago in San Jordi where anti-motorway villagers barracked politicians from the ruling political grouping, the conservative Partido Popular, after a church service.

Guardia Civil were required to escort Stella Matutes, in charge of the roading project, to her car. Eldest daughter of the ex-foreign minister of Spain, property and construction magnate Abel Matutes, Stella kindly agreed to an interview to discuss how the works will affect you, the clubbing tourist.

Stella MatutesBorn in 1972, Stella (right) hasn't yet cultivated a politician's sheen. Dressed casually in a snug pair of jeans and trainers she looks a little out of place in the offices of the Consell Insular. In her office the tang of cigarette smoke is distinctly detectable.

Spotlight: Which venues in Ibiza do you like?

Stella Matutes: I like specially Cafe del Mar. Also the clubs I like, they are good for Ibiza. They are an important part of the tourism on the island. They have much prestigio en el mundo. And they innovate - they do better things than other places in the world.

When did you first go to a club in Ibiza?

The first club I went, it was Ku. I was maybe 17, 18 years old.

How will the current road works affect club tourists from June to September 2006?

First of all I would like to remember that all the tour operators that are working in Ibiza, they asked for these roads. Also the road to San Antonio, which been discussed in the British parliament, needs security. I think when the roads will be finished the tourists will appeciate and will be happy because it will be an improvement for the island. But this year they will not be finished.

Consell Insular

Consell Insular, Avda. España

What will be happening outside Privilege?

The tunnel has already started so the road at this point [outside the club] you won't see it. The traffic will be underground and there will be not so much traffic so for people walking it's much more safe. The tunnel includes all San Rafael. So it's a little bit before Privilege to the end of San Rafael.

What will be happening outside Amnesia?

In Amnesia there's no tunnel in this point because the tunnels are not for the discos. It's because once in a meeting we had with the neighbours of San Rafael they asked for this tunnel so we said yes. But the discos don't have anything to do with the tunnels.

You didn't have a meeting with the club owners?

They haven't asked for meetings. We have been meeting with everyone who asked for it but I think they didn't.

Will the new airport road affect people who are going to Space?

No, it doesn't change Space.


In San Jordi we will make a road that goes around the town, not inside the town. So everyone whose going in this road is not passing into the town and it will be much safer.

the works @ San Jordi

the works at San Jordi


This road is made by the Consell Ibiza, the Town Hall of Ibiza, not the Consell Insular. So it is not my responsibility.

How are the road works being funded?

The Govern Balears, not the Consell Insular, not this institution, they are paying now but in the end we hope the Spanish government will have to pay. We have an agreement signed and they have to pay and in the end we hope they will.

Why have the road works caused so much opposition?

When you are doing something like this, that is normal. In Ibiza is not the first time. When Marina Botafoch was to be constructed it was the same. It's normal because Ibiza is an island and we have to be careful with what we do. We are not making highway but roads. And they are not new roads, but the same a little bit bigger and also because some people have been telling lots of lies. If the things they say were true I would be the first going there and protesting.

What lies have people said?

Lots, the width of the roads, everything. What thing is not a lie. We are sure that when the roads will be finished people will be happy. Some projects have changed a lot. We had to start from the beginning and change it completely to take all the people's suggestions

Why does Ibiza need these roads?

Because of security. Now we have 30,000 vehicles every day on these roads, and these roads are prepared only for 12,000 and we have a lot of accidents. This shouldn't be a political question, it's a necessity and it's a serious thing. We are talking about lives.

When will they be finished?

Next year before the tourist season, the temporada. We hope to do it like this. We are trying to make the roads we think our tourism is worth. Because we have very faithful tourists and we think these tourists come every year and the ones who are new need to have what the services they are paying for.

Many thanks to Elena from El Mundo for setting this up - you're the best!

Shopping basket