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Roads - Concrete mile posts

N340 restored km post on Avenida de España Estepona ©Barcley Spicer Jenkins
N340 restored km post on Avenida de España Estepona

Roads - Concrete mile posts or Mojones

You may have noticed old concrete milestones by the side of Andalucian roads - local and national, not motorways. While most of these were replaced long ago by painted metal signs, a few still remain, reminders of a bygone age of road travel.

The original mileage indicators have started to become rare, and instead of being destroyed they are now being cared for and replanted as historic artefacts. Examples are in Estepona on Avenida España, the old N-340 that was km161 (counting from Cadiz). The 161 has been painted out not to cause confusion. Another is a feature on the San Pedro Boulevard.


Plan Peña 1941

They were either carved of granite or mass concrete or reinforced concrete. Not many of the granite ones remain. Perhaps the km115 in San Roque still does.

Following the destruction of the Civil War, the public works generally and the Spanish road network in particular was going to be improved. The PLAN GENERAL DE OBRAS PÚBLICAS was elaborated under Alfonso Peña Boeuf, road engineer for the Ministro de Obras Públicas (Ministry of Public Works) in the first Franco government and approved on 11 April 1939 and 18 April 1941. It was known at the time as the Plan Peña.

Plan of Spanish road numbering system - Plan Peña 1941 ©
Plan of Spanish road numbering system - Plan Peña 1941

Road numbering was included in the plan. Six radial roads from Madrid were classified in a clockwise pattern and given roman numerals:

N-I north to San Sebastian,
N-II north-east to Barcelona and Girona,
N-III east to Valencia,
N-VI to south Cadiz,
N-V to south-west Badajoz,
N-VI north to La Coruña.

Other national roads (colour-coded red N roads) with their starting point in the N-III to N-IV sector were N-3nn - the first digit after the N-3 was the distance from Madrid in 100km radii.

A road starting at Cadiz would be N-34n and the arterial coast road from Cadiz to Barcelona became the N-340 so familiar to tourists on the Mediterranean coast (see below).

Provincial roads were colour-coded yellow and were numbered by province, with two letters and a two-digit number, for example MA-28. Even minor country or comarcal roads were coded green and nominated C-4569.

Motorways were later numbered A followed by one or two digits, eg A-7 (or AP if a pay motorway). Since 1984 many national and provincial roads in Andalucia have been handed over to the responsibility of the Junta de Andalucia. These are numbered A followed by three or four digits to differentiate them from motorways in Andalucia, eg A-376.

mojones - km markers

Back in 1939 the specifics of the mojones (km markers) were included in detail.

Detailed specification for the production of Mojones ©
Detailed specification for the production of Mojones

The law was not repealed until 1961 (BOE, 7 de agosto de 1961, pág. 11656) after which time, the specification was updated little by little. At some point the specification changed to the metal signs.

N340 = Route 66?

The N-340 Cadiz to Barcelona was the longest road in Spain at 1240km. Some call it the route 66 of Spain. It was renamed the Via Augusta in Roman times due to the upgrade it was given by Emperor Augusta in 8BC. Due to the N-IV taking precedence on the single road along the peninsular into Cadiz, the kilometer 0 of the N-340 is actually the rather less romantic Tres Caminos industrial estate at Puerto Real near San Fernando.

Nowadays its first section is now the A-48 and has generally been replaced by the A-7 in many places, so it has become a series of isolated sections of ‘the old road'. At least it has its own historical-cultural website at www.n-340.org and it has been blogged about many times.

If you are attached to the mojones you can have a scale model as a paperweight or a keyring

Centro Interpretation de la Camineria

The Centro interpretation de la Caneria, is a museum of road boulding located in the village of La Carrradura, 20 km south of Jaen, on the old N-323a in the direction of Granada. On display are plenty of Mojones through the ages from Roman times to the present day.  

Centro Interpretation de la Camineria, La Cerradura. Photo<a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dani_jaem" mce_href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dani_jaem" title="User:Dani jaem">Dani jaem</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="es">Own work</span>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0" mce_href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0" title="Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0">CC BY-SA 4.0</a> ©
Centro Interpretation de la Camineria, La Cerradura. PhotoDani jaem - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0