Orihuela planning delays continue to put pedestrian lives in danger

Orihuela planning delays continue to put pedestrian lives in danger
Orihuela planning delays continue to put pedestrian lives in danger

For more than 6 years, the residents of Lomas de Cabo Roig, La Cuerda, Lomas de Golf and bordering urbanisations, have had to take their lives in their hands every time they cross the bridge over the AP7, on Cabo de Creus. There are no pavements or lighting, so that everyone who makes the crossing, adults and small children alike, are assuming a high risk of being hit by one of the many vehicles that also travel across it.

The bridge currently has just one carriageway in each direction and in the absence of any sort of a footpath for pedestrians, the dangers are enormous. On the hard shoulder, which is only 40 centimetres wide, and overgrown with shrubbery, a person who walks down the edge of the road carrying shopping, pushing a baby in a pram or anyone in a wheelchair, has to step back off the road and into the thick vegetation so as to avoid the passing traffic on this very busy carriageway, much of which can be heavy lorries.

This can be dangerous during daylight hours but after dark, in the absence of any form of lighting, it is absolutely treacherous.

The bridge carries the only access road that connects a number of urbanizations, currently estimated to be occupied by more than 5,000 people, but which is growing day by day as the Orihuela planning department continues to issue building permissions. For many people, it is the only route they have which connects them to supermarkets, the Orihuela Costa Health Centre of Orihuela Costa, the pharmacy, as well as the beaches and other services of the coast.

Builders have already deposited a bank guarantee of 1.2 million euros into the Council funds so there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why the authorities have to seek a further budget allocation to fund this project.

In the Municipal Plenary of 10/29/2015, the Ayuntamiento gave its approval to the development of this bridge, adapting it for use by pedestrians, approving a motion presented by the CIUDADANOS municipal group.

Well now we have had enough of the council dithering. It has gone on far too long and continued further delays will almost certainly result in serious injuries or deaths along this most dangerous stretch of roadway.

You have got absolutely no chance at night.
You have got absolutely no chance at night.

The Leader Newspaper has been demanding the construction of a pedestrian bridge for many years, having run many stories on the subject since building first got underway in Lomas de Cabo Roig ten years ago.

Residents have also been demanding that the walkway be built as traffic continues to increase and as safety concerns for pedestrians continue to grow.  Pressures have especially grown during the last two years, since the election of the current government team. Orihuela Costa Associations have also made repeated requests to the council – in person, by petition, publicly, through the media and by social networks – but there has still been absolutely no progress.

The last time any mention was made on the subject by the council was in May when the councillor for town planning at the time, Begoñia Cuatero, acknowledged that her department was struggling because of a lack of manpower, and that she had been unable to submit changes to the project requested by the Ministry of Public Works.

The spokesman for the local residents association FAOC, Thomás Moreno, says he finds it incredible that the council has still not cashed in the builders bank guarantee and although the planning department seems able to find the time to issue building licenses for constructors, they are unable do the same for the basic services and infrastructure on behalf of the very people who just two years ago voted them into office.

In a development last Thursday Carlos González of FAOC attended the monthly Orihuela Plenary meeting where, during the formal business part of the meeting, he asked the Councillor for Planning, Rafael Almagro, exactly what the council plans for the pedestrian walkway were.

Almagro stated that he was fully aware of the project which he would personally ensure is completed as soon as is practically possible. Whilst Almagro said that he was unable to provide residents with a specific date for completion he did say that the matter had gone unattended for far too long and he would now ensure that it was given the priority that it rightly deserved.

FAOC spokesman Tomas Moreno said that he welcomed the councillor’s remarks, but if there is no tangible progress by the end of January the Association would put the matter in the hands on the Sindic de Gureges, the Valencian Community Ombudsman.


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