Political row explodes over Albufeira road works

THE ROAD WORKS being carried out in Eixo Viário, the main traffic route through Avenida dos Descobrimentos in Albufeira, are currently the subject of an almighty row between the Socialist and Social Democrats political parties.

However, for many onlookers, it seems the very public sparring match between the politicians is nothing more than exaggerated pre-campaign rivalry for the forthcoming local elections, rather than a credible debate on a public issue.

Controversial leaflet campaign

The Socialist candidate for the Albufeira Câmara presidency, Fernando Anastácio, saw fit to produce leaflets criticising the project that his party feels is “unnecessary, badly thought out and too expensive” and have them distributed to motorists and pedestrians in the area. Anastácio points the finger at current Albufeira Câmara President, Desidério Silva, who he claims is “acting in typical pre-election fashion and negatively affecting Albufeira this summer”.

Parallel press conferences

The accusations flying between the two parties over the issue led to two press conferences being staged within half-an-hour of each other at the end of last week.

At his press conference, Desidério Silva outlined the câmara’s reasons for undertaking the project, saying the works were essential due to the fact that the road, which was first built in 1985, “has suffered significant damage over recent years, especially in light of all the construction that has been taking place at Albufeira Marina. There has also been great damage done to the pavements, street lighting and other structures”.

He went on to declare that there were signs that “the road could rupture and the pavement collapse”. These, he explained, were the motives behind going ahead with the works. He also claimed that the refurbishment was “of great necessity for the image of Albufeira and the wellbeing of the population. We are dealing with a renovation project that will assure the dignified conditions that Albufeira demands in a national and international tourism context”.

Meanwhile, Fernando Anastácio told journalists: “These works do not resolve the traffic problems as the technical strategy is inadequate. We are dealing with an ill thought-out and misguided project, typical of the pre-election period,” implying that Silva was launching rash improvement projects to gain votes.

Will suspension cause bill

to rocket?

A matter that has also caused controversy is the suspension of the works and the possible cost implications. The Socialists have claimed the suspension is total, while the Social Democrats state it is only partial and only until the beginning of October.

“In order not to negatively affect the traffic situation in Albufeira during the tourist season, we have decided to partially suspend the works in two places – from the Lidl roundabout to the petrol station roundabout and from there up to Avenida do Ténis. The rest of the works, which do not interfere with the flow of the traffic, will continue and will be finished in the original time frame,” said the Câmara President.

Desidério Silva guaranteed that the partial suspension of the works would not mean increased costs and confirmed that the total cost of the project would be 2.1 million euros. However, Fernando Anastácio sarcastically commented: “Mr. President has forgotten to add the VAT, which is also part of these works.” He continued with his attack on Silva saying: “I don’t know any company that carries out council projects, which would stop work for four months without charging.”

Finally, in a bid to draw a line under the whole matter, a written statement was sent to The Resident, in which the President of Albufeira Câmara states: “Albufeira is ready to welcome tourists and it is certain that we will have improved conditions for cars and pedestrians in the near future.”