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Meeting in Chicago

In August of that year, the American Association of Highway Builders (American Road Builders Association-ARBA) held its first World Road Congress in Chicago.

The meeting became the great event of the sector. It was to present the extraordinary advances that engineers had successfully implemented during World War II. In addition, it was intended to take advantage of the meeting, and the massive influx of delegates from around the world, to create an international body that would watch over the roads.

The news of this macro congress reached Spain, where businessmen, engineers and senior officials of the General Directorate of Roads - the General Director in person - were quick to attend the meeting. However, their illusions were dashed when the US administration refused to grant visas to Spanish citizens. It was the time when this North American country had withdrawn its ambassador from Spain, and only issued visas in very specific circumstances.

Identity card of Miguel Montabes

This is how the Public Works Engineer Miguel Montabes Calle, then a resident of the United States and with contacts in the American Highway Association, was forced to attend the renowned ARBA World Congress. He was the only Spaniard and, therefore, he represented our country in all the events that were organized.

On his return to Spain, Montabes was already commissioned to create an association whose purpose was to promote and defend the road.

Thus, on April 21, 1949, the Spanish Road Association was born, being structured in various departments according to the activity carried out: General Technique and Statistics, Construction Companies, Machinery and Automotive Manufacturers, Users, Training and Education. Its first President was Marcelino Ahijón, then Chief Engineer of Road Conservation.

Help pathThe main objective with which this Association saw the light was to create an authentic “civil society” in the road field that would serve as a framework for all kinds of exchanges between the Public Administration, the industry and the user, something of which the Spanish society was really in need at that time.

Throughout all these years, the AEC has evolved significantly, adapting to the needs of the new times, incorporating new departments and expanding the existing ones in such a way that they contribute to streamline its activity, but always maintaining the objectives that constitute its essence. : the defense and promotion of a safer road network capable of effectively covering the mobility needs of users.

First issue of the journal RoadsTwo years after its creation, the AEC publishes the first issue of the Carreteras magazine. This publication, following its own philosophical principles, is constituted as a compendium of humanities, technology and defense of roads. Many collaborators, such as Ángel del Campo y Francés or Lamberto de Santos, made great contributions to the magazine, allowing us today to learn about the history of roads in those decades.





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