Olhão’s so-called ‘Berlin Wall’ has been erected again at the town’s pedestrian railway crossing, considered a key link between one side of town and the other.
It had been open for over two years and was manned by a security guard.
While it had been closed many times before by national infrastructure authority Infraestruturas de Portugal, it opened in October 2015 under the understanding that Olhão council would work on a project to carry out renovations to the alternative underpass.
But the project never moved forward, allegedly due to “small details and technical adjustments”, and now IP claims that the licence for the crossing to stay open expired on the last day of 2017 and was not renewed.
News website Sulinformação has covered the story, posting pictures online of several pedestrians climbing the short barrier that reads “crossing closed” to get to the other side.
Olhão mayor António Pina has reacted to the news telling Algarve Primeiro website that IP has made a “unilateral decision” to close the crossing and demand renovations to the alternative underpass.
The underpass has always been criticised by locals for being too steep and inaccessible, and especially dangerous when it rains. For people in wheelchairs or pushing prams, it is virtually unusable.
Pina says that the renovations to the underpass are expected to start “as soon as possible” and that the costs will be covered by the council and IP.
Meantime, anyone unwilling to climb over the barrier and disrespect the ‘crossing closed’ sign will have no choice but to use the much-maligned underpass.