The existing rundown bridge will be demolished once the new one is completed. Photo: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Fourth time lucky! Faro bridge project finally attracts bids

There’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel for the project to build a new bridge to Faro Island. Following three tenders that failed to attract bidders, the fourth attempt has received bids from four contractors.

Speaking to national news agency Lusa, Faro Mayor Rogério Bacalhau said three of the contractors are Portuguese and the other is foreign. All four have “experience in this area” and, if all goes according to plan, construction could begin “after this summer”.

Government agency Polis Litoral Ria Formosa and Faro Council had already revealed that they increased the project’s price tag from €3.5 million to €4.9 million in hopes that someone would finally come forth to build the bridge.

“For the first time in three years, our outlook is positive because all three previous tenders failed to attract bidders. At the moment, we are analysing four: the lowest is around €4,376,000 and the highest around €4,848,000,” Bacalhau told Lusa.

Said the mayor, around 60% of the decision comes down to the “technical analysis” that is carried out by the company and if it is equipped to complete the works while 40% is based on their asking price.

The preliminary report with all this data is expected to be completed by the end of March followed by a hearing with the four bidders who, if necessary, will be able to “contest” details.

“If there are no complaints, the final report will be created, the works will be assigned and the contract will be signed,” said Bacalhau, adding however that it will still require approval from the Court of Auditors.

The deadline for the latest tender had been February 11 but was extended until last week in order to give contractors more time to present their bids.
Once the works begin, they are expected to last 540 days.

A new bridge has been in the pipeline for years, as the current bridge to Faro Island – known as ‘Praia de Faro’ in Portuguese and one of the town’s most popular tourist destinations – has only one lane, which often leads to bottlenecks especially in the peak of summer and leads to safety concerns for pedestrians and cyclists.

The new two-lane bridge will be built near the current bridge, which will be demolished once the new one is completed. It will also include two side pavements for pedestrians which will be “wide enough” for cyclists to use as well.

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