AVOCA, the Orihuela Costa residents association (www.facebook.com/avocaorihuelacosta) has confirmed that it has received an absolute promise from the Orihuela Council that it will finally meet it’s 16-year promise, to erect a pedestrian walkway across the AP-7 motorway, between La regia and Lomas de Cabo Roig.
After 16 years of paralysis, during which time neither the developer nor the municipal council have made any real efforts to complete the work, the Oriolano consistory now wants to restart the project.
Pedestrians and cyclists who currently walk or ride between the two locations have barely half a metre at the side of the busy CV-942 road and often have to stop and step up onto an uneven embankment in order to avoid traffic. Indeed, vehicles can often be seen swerving into the centre of the two-lane highway, as they endeavour to avoid the pedestrians and cyclists.
The situation becomes even more hazardous after dark, with visibility almost non-existent, in the absence of any street lighting.
One of the biggest, local, protests in recent years saw almost 1,000 people take to the streets three years ago in a march that was organised jointly by CLARO and Orihuela Costa (FAOC).
At the time, many of the protesters were in wheelchairs and electric buggies holding messages of saying “How do you expect me to get to the Medical Centre or the Pharmacia.”
Three councillors from Orihuela also took part in the march, Sofía Álvarez the councillor for Tourism, Víctor Ruiz of the PSOE and Karlos Bernabé of Cambiemos. They were joined by CLARO leaders, Román Jiménez, Bob Houliston and Paul Piccio.
Despite promises from the Municipal government at the time, which were augmented by both the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos in the run up to the 2019 municipal elections, there is still no progress, or even any indication from Major Emilio Bascuñana, as to when the undertaking may be carried out.
Last week however, AVOCO tabled a question to the full council meeting in Orihuela, in which it stated that the mayor and his coalition partner had approved a motion to carry out the work back in 2015.
The Association asked what plans there were for the scheme, what stage they were at, and what the council was doing about moving them forward. It also asked who was responsible for the delay and what is preventing the council from moving the project forward?
While the mayor once again promised, by no means for the first time, to speed up the process and to allow AVOCA access to the official information, Deputy Mayor, Planning Councillor and Ciudadanos leader, Jose Aix, said that technical plans had still not been drawn up.
However he added that the council would be introducing procedures to seize the 1.2 million euro bank guarantee, deposited by the developer at the outset of the Lomas de Cabo Roig construction plan, and that a tender would be issued to draft a plan for the new bridge and walkway.
He said that this work would be immediately put into place and the new bridge would be finished by the end of the current legislature in two years time.
Every day there are dozens of people, many with small children, from the urbanisations of Lomas de Cabo Roig, La Cuerda or Lomas de Golf, with more than 5,000 residents, who risk their lives when walking or cycling over the bridge across the AP-7 as they have no pavement and only a very tiny shoulder. The problem is exacerbated for those people with mobility problems who travel in a wheelchair or those who push baby carriages.
Cars can often be seen swerving to avoid pedestrians because there is hardly any room to pass.