In the 2007-2011 term of office, Madrid City Council carried out the Madrid Río project, which was completed on 15 April 2011. The project consisted in upgrading the M-30 orbital motorway and running it underground along the Manzanares River.
Running the M-30 underground in the river zone has been the biggest ecological rebalancing operation in Madrid’s recent history. Where there once used to be thousands of cars on the road, there is now a 10 km long park, a green corridor that stretches from El Pardo to Getafe, joining up the dots that were the previously unconnected woods, green spaces, historical gardens and urban parks, thus providing Madrid with an environmental infrastructure that is one of a kind in the family of large metropolises.
In total, a universal-access surface area of 1,210,881 m2 was treated. This included the planting of 33,623 new trees (47 species), 470,844 bushes (38 species) and 210,898 m2 of meadowland. Throughout the length and breadth of Madrid Río, there are 30 kilometres of cycle paths, 33 sports fields, 17 children’s play areas, 3 fitness trails, 7 pétanque courts, 12 games tables, 3 cultural event platforms and an Interpretation Centre.
The project includes the restoration of the magnificent old bridges across the river, such as the Puente de Segovia, the Puente del Rey and the Puente de Toledo. 11 new footbridges have been built, allowing better access to both sides of the river, and a green corridor of pine trees are providing pleasantly shaded walks.