Torrevieja’s mayor, José Manuel Dolón, said last week that the Ministry of Public Works has returned the proposal to widen the N332 saying that it was both submitted far to late for implementation and the project is in need of at least 13 major changes before it can again be considered.
The National body state that in many areas the appropriation of land is in breach of the law whilst in others it is far too little which will route the new stretch of dual carriageway far too close to public properties.
However the mayor has said that he has no intention of ‘throwing in the towel’ and that he will look at all of the observations made with a view to their modification. In a recent appearance before the press he said that there are a number of difficult issues to be addressed and he will be requesting an early meeting with María José Salvador the Minister of Public Works in the Generalitat Valenciana. He said that he also intends to take the matter direct to Madrid.
He added that Fomento now envisages a four-lane fast lane that requires more ground than planned in the original project.
“The objective is resolve the situation because we cannot continue as we have done in recent years with the constant logjams along the single lane stretch of the N332 south of the Park of Nations,” he continued.
Despite a second carriageway being added to much of the N332 around Torrevieja some years ago the 8km stretch from Punta Prima to the Park of Nations, which carries up to 30,000 vehicles per day, was ignored as a result of which, particularly during the warmer months, the traffic tends to tail back causing severe jams and delays in both directions.
Unfortunately the rejected plan diverts the road to within just a few metres of public housing which would not be acceptable to any of the parties. There are also many other areas where the Ministry consider there to be a lack of adequate flood defences or drainage
The Ministry of Public Works has said that the traffic study is “insufficient” as the data is taken from 2007 and must be updated. In addition, there are many other parts of the study that no longer comply with the regulations that are currently in force.
It is the Regional Government that is responsible for authorising the project prior to submitting it to Central Government who will then be providing the funding.
However the statement from the Torrevieja mayor brought immediate criticism from the opposition Partido Popular who accused the mayor of “hiding the deficiencies noted in the Ministry’s response for almost 4 months.
According to the PP spokesman, Eduardo Dolón, it now seems that the report was first received by the municipal registry prior to Christmas on 22 December since which time there appears to have been nothing done. Needless to say the mayor vehemently denies the accusation stating that the PP are once again simply up to their usual dirty tricks, and confirming that the document was not received until just last month.
Alicante Deputy Joaquín Albaladejo, previously a member of the PP administration in Torrevieja, was quick to defend the former administration blaming the Provincial government of “socialist” Ximo Puig and “Catalan” Monica Oltra for dragging their feet and causing the delay of the new carriageways.
He said that improvements to the N-332 passing through Torrevieja have been planned for over a decade, for which the Ministry of Development has budgeted nearly 17 million euros to which it is adding a further million every year.
But while the adversarial political jousting continues we can only expect the delays with this essential scheme to continue and all the while the unacceptable levels of congestion cause immeasurable damage to the local economy.
It seems to me that the political establishment are currently more concerned with scoring points than in doing their job!