Loulé Council has announced that the construction of the last stretch of the town’s bypass road (known in Portuguese as the Circular de Loulé) will begin in December.
“After nearly three decades since the Circular de Loulé project started being conceived, Loulé has finally seen the day when the last stretch of the works was launched,” the council said in a statement last week.
Representing a nearly €4 million investment, the works will involve extending the bypass road from the Querença/Ameixial roundabout on the EN396 to the Barreiras Brancas roundabout on the EN270.
The 1.7km stretch will include two new roundabouts linking Barreiras Brancas and Pedragosa to the centre of Loulé.
This stretch of the bypass road was originally due to have four lanes, which have been cut down to two lanes as there will be “green spaces on the sides of the road, a bicycle path and a side pavement,” explained the director of the local council’s construction works department, Joaquim Farrajota.
Loulé mayor Vítor Aleixo believes the project has a “new concept” which meets the “new environmental demands” of the world, and stressed the role of former mayor Joaquim Vairinhos, whom he said took the first steps towards getting this project off the ground.
“Many years have passed, but we must understand that cities are man-made structures that are built over a long period of time. They are not the works of one generation, but of many generations,” Aleixo said.
Quality of life
Vítor Aleixo believes the bypass will bring “higher quality of life to Loulé”, as it will channel “a large proportion of car traffic” out of town. It will also bring big environmental gains and help reduce noise and pollution, the mayor said.
Aleixo also hopes that the new road will help strengthen Loulé’s “centrality” in the context of the Algarve, namely as a “very dynamic urban hub”, and help the development of the municipality’s inland areas which are at a “turning point”.
“In the future, there will be more economy in the inland areas, more people will live there, which will bring more traffic from those rural areas of the municipality to the town of Loulé,” said Aleixo.
He added: “Those who travel to the coast will be able to do so by bypassing the town to the east or west without having to go through it. It is convenient, it saves time and offers many advantages.”
Bypass cut short
The local mayor also confirmed that this will be the last stretch of the bypass to be built, as the southern stretch which was originally planned has been cut from the project.
“It would be a costly and intrusive venture, a complex engineering project which wouldn’t solve many problems because, in truth, that southern section of the bypass is the A22 (motorway),” said Vítor Aleixo.
Other projects in pipeline
The completion of the bypass road is not the only project that Loulé council has in the pipeline.
A new avenue is due to be built between the municipal stadium of Loulé and the future headquarters of the Algarve Biomedical Center (ABC), which the council says will also help reduce bottlenecks in the town.
A new bicycle path is also due to be built along the existing bypass between the Barrocal and Pavilhão roundabouts along the Laginha Serafim avenue.
The south of the town is also expecting further development, with the first phase of the urban park, described as a “jewel of the town”, already completed.
However, the council is planning to recover the rural economy linked to agricultural production.
Said the local authority, the Algarve’s traditional dry farming will be reintroduced while landowners are investing in organic farming.
“It would be an unforgivable mistake to not bring back century-old traditions of an area that is able to produce and supply its own agricultural products for local consumption,” said Aleixo.