Railway crossing: Olhão celebrates temporary fall of its ‘Berlin Wall’

Olhão’s railway crossing that was fenced off for security reasons causing much controversy among pedestrians who frequently used it to get to the other side of town is finally going to be removed, albeit temporarily.

The local council and Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) signed an agreement on Monday (July 13) which will “soon” see the railway crossing temporarily reopening while improvement work is carried out on the alternative underpass – which once completed will become the main means of crossing from one side of the town to the other on foot.

Local blogsite Olhão Livre has already celebrated the news, saying it is “a victory of the people who forced authorities to finally reach an agreement”.

However, the railway crossing will close again once the €150,000 improvement work on the underpass is completed. It will only reopen in “extreme situations, such as floods”.

The goal of the works is to make the underpass “safer”, allowing people with mobility problems to use it as well.

“It took some time but we have found a solution that was supported by all,” mayor António Pina said after the signing of the protocol.

He also praised IP president António Ramalho for his involvement in the negotiations after months of fruitless talks with national railway authority Refer.

The fencing, dubbed ‘Olhão’s Berlin Wall’ by locals, was often torn down by disgruntled people who did not want to use the underpass, which they always claimed was “steep, inaccessible and susceptible to flooding”.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]