Beach improvements could be finished early

RENOVATION of the beaches between Cova do Vapor and Costa da Caparica could be completed well ahead of the projected time schedule, according to António Neves, President of the local Junta de Freguesia.

The original timetable aimed for completion in 2007, but now Neves is convinced the work can be done by the last quarter of 2006. “The works are running at a good level, deadlines are being met and, with a little tweaking, all could be over before the predicted finishing date,” said Neves. “Especially, if it is possible to continue the work during the summer.”

The initial plan to repair the sea defences and replenish the beaches with sand anticipated a cessation of works during the summer months – a concession to tourism.However, it now looks as if the project will have progressed to the Santo António zone by this summer where, presently, there is hardly any beach left, with the consequence that this year’s holidaymakers would not be going there anyway.

Neves’ idea is that the repair operation could continue in this zone without inconveniencing anyone through excessive machinery noise and dust problems. Regarding this, he has already requested an official opinion on the matter from Assistant Secretary of State for the Environment, Jorge Moreira da Silva.

At present, an average of 80 lorries, carrying large rocks, arrive every day in order to supply the reconstruction of sea defences between Cova do Vapor and Praia da Saúde.The 8.2 million euro works, under the stewardship of the Institute of Water (INAG), are considered vital to the protection of the region’s beaches and preventing the destruction, through wave action, of the beach supports around Santo António and S. João, as happened during the winter of 2001-2002.

In order to minimise inconvenience to visitors, temporary access roads have been constructed, allowing lorries and other heavy plant machinery to travel to and from the areas of operation while remaining largely out of sight.