Fears of further rockfalls in Cabo Roig


Fears of further rockfalls in Cabo Roig

The Federation of Associations of the Orihuela Costa (FAOC) says that it is extremely concerned about the possibility of further landslides in Cabo Roig, some of which forced a section of the seafront promenade to be closed last November, following the fall of earth and rocks after heavy rains.

In a document submitted to the Town Hall, the neighbourhood group has asked the local government to commission a thorough geotechnical and geomorphological study that will evaluate the current risk and that will provide an indication of any necessary action that is compatible with the criteria applied by the General Directorate of Coasts, in order to preserve this popular right of way.

FAOC has also asked that the study, to be made by the Department of Urban Planning, is also required to assess the safety of the properties that are located in areas overlooking the coastal rockface.

They say that the owners of the houses that are on the very edge of the seafront are very concerned about the possibility of new landslides, as, in many cases, parts of their land have been severely affected with previous landslides causing damage to their walls and fences.

Many of these houses were built years ago when the urban planning lacked any restrictions and, in some cases, there are numerous single-family homes that are now finding themselves to be in a precarious situation.

The residents not only fear for the situation of their properties, but also for the safety of the many people who walk or run along the promenade every day, that skirts the Orihuela Costa by the sea, from Punta Prima to Mil Palmeras.

The section of cliffs where landslides have occurred for many years is in Cabo Roig, which the Department of Beaches carried out works to strengthen in May last year, at a cost of 250,000 euros.

The works consisted of fastening the cliffs with meshes, to prevent uncontrolled landslides due to the erosion of the rock. But these meshes have only been partially successful. Whilst they have not stopped further landslides they have, at least, trapped the falling rocks, ensuring they were not able to spill onto the pathway below.

The promenade is one of the main attractions of the Orihuela Costa, which many thousands of residents and visitors to the area enjoy on a daily basis. The walkway is also a tourist attraction, along which the City Council organises regular walks and other activities.

The section near Cala Capitán was closed for 4 years, from 2013 to 2017, as a result of earlier  landslides. Four years after the first landslides, and after a tortuous bureaucratic path, the works of consolidation were finally said to have been completed, but the events of recent weeks have now shown otherwise.

At the end of last November, following a period of heavy rains, and as a result of wind and sea erosion, there was a significant collapse of rocks directly onto the walkway, although much of it was thankfully contained by the mesh.

The City Council immediately removed the fallen rocks and reopened the walk a few days later, following a further inspection by the company awarded the repair works in 2017.

However several of the rock faces in some sections of the promenade are overhanging with little or no support, which concerns anyone who might be passing underneath. FAOC have therefore called for urgent action to ensure that the matter is quickly resolved. However it is the Department of Beaches that currently manages the walkway along with the Department of Coasts and the Department of Urban Development, three departments that are not particularly known for their speed of action.