A controversial plan to divert traffic over a 10km stretch of the EN125 in order to carry out roadworks has been postponed until after this summer following intense pressure from council leaders.
The renovations between Maritenda and Fontainhas were to begin on Monday (May 9) and continue until July 15.
But the prospect of closing a busy stretch of an already overloaded road – causing even further “traffic chaos” during the summer – forced Loulé and Albufeira’s mayors to reject the plan.
“It would be crazy to carry out work like that at a time like this,” Loulé mayor Vítor Aleixo told Sulinformação website, especially as the government has yet to reduce A22 motorway tolls.
Aleixo explained that Rotas do Algarve Litoral had already tried to implement the work last year but its bid was rejected for the very same reasons.
He said the green light was given this year, but only on the basis that roadworks were completed before Easter.
A source for Infraestruturas de Portugal – the authority in charge of the nation’s roads – has since told Sulinformação that the renovations are very necessary. They involve demolishing and rebuilding two railway overpasses and will require traffic to be diverted off the EN125 and onto secondary roads.
Hoteliers back demanding toll-free A22
Meantime, the Algarve hoteliers association (AHETA) has urged the government once again to suspend EN125 renovation works and remove tolls from the A22 motorway as the Algarve’s traffic problems continue to plague the region just a month away from the peak summer season.
AHETA’s statement came days after the government rejected a number of anti-toll proposals.
AHETA also expressed “surprise” at IP’s plans for the Maritenda-Fontainhas section of the EN125, suggesting decisions were being made behind people’s backs without considering the region’s best interests.