European route E78
|International E-road network|
At present, not a single part of the E78 is constructed at motorway standard. Even though sections are dual carriageway, the Appennine section is not at the standard laid down for E-roads in the European Agreement on Main International Traffic Arteries (which applies to E-routes). Plans to upgrade the entire route have existed since the late 1960s. This project is significant, because the completed E78 would be the only fully grade-separated and fully dual carriageway route between the Mediterranean and Adriatic coasts in an area that runs from Rimini to Pescara. There are plans to create other similar links in the area.
In the first phase of the project, the E78 expressway will consist of an upgrade of the existing Grosseto - Siena road, then run to the A1 at Bettolle. The duplex with the A1 stops near Arezzo. From there, the E78 is intended to run directly east to Fano. Plans to shortcut the A1 duplex by creating a direct link from Rigomagno on the Siena - Bettolle route to the new Arezzo - Fano route are in study. The Siena - Bettolle link was completed in 2008 and sections of road at the Eastern and Western terminus expressways. For the rest, the E78 currently (May 2010) consists of a patchwork of sections of upgraded road, sections in the process of being upgraded and sections still to be upgraded.
The Appennine crossing will run via the 5,960 m (19,550 ft) Galleria della Guinza tunnel between Mercatello sul Metauro and San Giustino. While a first tube of this tunnel was constructed between 1990 and 2004, construction of the second tube was interrupted as a result of a lack of funds. The first tube is currently unused, because it lacks connecting roads on its western end. As at May 2010, studies as to the construction of this link are still pending.
- For instance an upgrade of SS76 between Perugia and Ancona and of SS77 between Foligno and Civitanova Marche. These would link to other expressways providing for a coast-to-coast link. See http://www.quadrilaterospa.it/docs/ilprogetto/ilprogetto.asp