The long-awaited €9.3 million refurbishment of Guadiana Bridge – linking the Algarve to Spain – finally got underway on Monday (June 3).
Infrastructure Minister Pedro Marques declares they will “prepare the infrastructure for many years to come”, dubbing the news “very important” for cross-border relations.
At the works launch ceremony, he said: “All you have to do is see the economic relationship between Portugal and Spain before the bridge existed when only a ferry linked the countries and there were many difficulties.”
The works will last a maximum of 525 days though they will be put on hold during summer’s ‘peak season’, at Easter and Christmas.
The works target the bridge’s cables, pavement, traffic signs and traffic control system – meaning traffic will be restricted to just one lane at times – and both Spain and Portugal will be footing the bill for them equally.
Initial reports suggested these works were due to start during the third quarter of 2016, but Marques made no mention of the delay.
Also attending the ceremony were Spain’s Ministers of Public Works and Transport Iñigo de la Serna and Employment and Social Security Fatima Bánez.
A minute of silence was held in memory of the victims of Saturday’s terror attack in London.
The Guadiana Bridge is one of the largest in Portugal. It is 666 metres-long and connects the south of Spain (Ayamonte) to Castro Marim, over the Guadiana River.
EN125: Drivers need to be “patient”
As summer approaches, many sections of the EN125 between Vila do Bispo and Olhão remain clogged due to last-minute renovations, which saw Pedro Marques urging drivers to be “patient” as the state tries to complete them before the June 30 deadline.
It is described as a final push to ensure that the EN125 boasts the “best mobility and security conditions for drivers” during the peak of the summer season.
Marques added that the state also wants to launch “three to four urgent interventions” on the EN125 between Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António before the end of 2017, though negotiations are still underway with the concession company.
Photo: Portugal’s Infrastructure Minister Pedro Marques (right), with Spain’s Minister for Public Works and Transport Iñigo de la Serna during a presentation of the works to be carried out on the Guadiana Bridge in Castro Marim on June 5
Photo by: LUÍS FORRA/LUSA