Residents’ petition for road repairs

By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]

An American resident has started an online petition with the aim of having the degraded and dangerous EN264 road between Algoz and São Bartolomeu de Messines repaired. 

Jim Beck told the Algarve Resident: “I decided to set up an online petition as this problem has been ongoing and nothing is being done.

“The road is very dangerous, especially when it rains as the large pot holes are obscured by the water.”

Since moving to the Algarve in 2001, Jim Beck has met with Silves Câmara President Isabel Soares and spoken to her about road problems in the council.

“She was very convivial and listened to the problems but then nothing happened. Something needs to be done,” he said.

Jim Beck’s first target is to achieve 500 signatures on the petition because this would be the equivalent amount of votes that would have put Isabel Soares out of office in the last elections.

“It will send a clear message, but I want to run the petition until work starts on the road,” he said.

At the time the Algarve Resident went to press on Wednesday, a total of 39 people of various nationalities had signed up to the petition.

Many of those who signed the petition left comments about the state of the road. One such comment said: “I have cycled and

have been driven on this road, and its condition was absolutely appalling.”

Another visitor who signed the petition wrote: “Please repair this road. I’m hesitant to return to the area as a visitor due to safety concerns. The road in its present condition is extremely hazardous.”

On his website, www.boulevardisabelsoares.info, Jim Beck has also set up a poster campaign to raise further awareness of the road problem.

“I have a one page and a four page poster that people can download straight from the website,” he said.

In response to the petition, Isabel Soares told the Algarve Resident that the road belongs to the road network under the jurisdiction of Portugal’s national road company Estradas de Portugal (EP).

“We cannot carry out the work. It is up to EP, which had planned it for their 2009 budget, but still nothing has been done,” she said. “This situation has been dragging for around 12 years and I have done much to bring it to EP’s attention.

“Silves Câmara has even paid for a project for the road to be refurbished but it was not carried out in time. I am very grateful to the residents who are raising awareness of this cause, but they must direct their petition to EP and make the Câmara aware of it.”

Following the recent spells of bad weather, Isabel Soares visited several locations throughout Silves council on Tuesday to inspect the poor state of the roads and properties that had been damaged.

“I saw the EN264 and its state is lamentable. I am surprised there have not been more accidents,” said Isabel Soares.

“There has been much damage because of the rains, the wind and the high tides, but our team will help as much as we are able to.”

A spokesman from Estradas de Portugal told the Algarve Resident: “A public tender will be launched in the first three months of 2010 for the renovation work of the EN264, between São Bartolomeu de Messines and Algoz. The project for this work is being created and lists a number of things to be carried out such as resurfacing, new drainage systems and road signs.”

The spokesman added: “EP has regularly carried out maintenance work to ensure good driving conditions and security on the road.”

According to EP, the EN264 has daily traffic of less than 2,000 vehicles, serving a population of around 10,000 residents.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]