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Facultad de Derecho
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Recortes de Prensa

Footbridge Fury Causes Chaos

Round Town News, 30 | 06 | 2009 - Noticia

The busy N332 in Orihuela Costa was brought to a dramatic halt on Monday after a group of residents organised a protest. The demonstration, which was supported by opposition political parties C.L.A.R.O and PSOE, was about the lack of footbridges going over the new dual carriageway and the subsequent danger that it poses to the people who live close by

The group of residents, most of whom are retirees, closed off the busy coastal road for over half an hour in an unofficial protest that was only stopped when the Guardia Civil arrived and threatened them all with arrest. Meanwhile, in the heat of the summer sunshine, N332 construction workers looked on bemused and asked the protesters to stay all day so that they wouldn’t have to work!

The protest started at 11.00 in Cabo Roig, just outside the medical centre. Residents are perplexed that the N332 dual carriageway designers failed to plan for a footbridge to take pedestrians from the La Regia urbanisation to the other side of the road, where the health centre is located and where the access road to the Paseo Maritimo, weekly Thursday Market and the beaches are situated. Instead, they have positioned a footbridge half a mile down the road, close to the Cabo Roig roundabout, which will mean a very long walk for the residents, many of whom are elderly. And in an incredible twist (yet predictable as after all, we are in Orihuela), further along the road in Campoamor, there is a footbridge from nowhere that goes nowhere!

Ridiculous

Sophia and Howard Dodds, from Edinburgh, are residents of La Regia. They told RTN; “In order to cross the busy dual carriageway, we have to walk half a mile down the road to the footbridge near the roundabout, which incidentally isn’t even open to pedestrians yet. We then have to walk all the way back to get to the health centre or the market. It’s a ridiculous situation.” Sophia continued; “There are a lot of elderly residents on our urbanisation who don’t drive and have to visit the health centre on a regular basis. They will find it extremely difficult to get there now, unless they rely on friends or relatives to take them. It’s very annoying, especially when the health centre is just there across the road.”

As the protesters were blowing whistles and shouting, “We want a footbridge now” to the beeping drivers of cars that had been held up by the demonstration, Pat Higlett told RTN; “We desperately need a footbridge here as there is nowhere to cross safely. There have already been many deaths on this stretch of road during the last few years and I fear that there will now be many more. There will be people who, instead of walking all the way down the road to the footbridge, will take the risk and climb over the barriers and the central reservation to get across the road. It’s very dangerous.” She added; “The Town Hall of Orihuela has not even considered this and now it is a dual carriageway, the risks will be even worse.”

Responsible

RTN contacted the Orihuela Costa Town Hall to find out why there has been no footbridge planned for that stretch of road. The Officer for European Residents, Stefan Pokroppa told us; “We wholeheartedly agree with the protesters who organised the demonstration. We have been trying to tell the PSOE run central government that the plans for the expansion of the N332 in Orihuela Costa are fundamentally flawed, especially with regard to the quantity and location of the footbridges that are going over the road.” He continued; “The Orihuela Mayor, Monica Lorente, has asked several times to meet with the Socialist Minister for Roads in Madrid, but he refused on each occasion. The central government is fully responsible for the N332 expansion and until the project is completed later this year, we cannot ask for the extra footbridges.” He added; “The Town Hall saw that there were faults with the project and as soon as it is complete, we will be applying for more footbridges and using the municipal budget to fund them.” He concluded; “How ironic that this was a PSOE central government project and yet the PSOE party here in Orihuela Costa were supporting the demonstration. At the moment, our hands are tied.”

Could this be another case of politics coming before the welfare of the people…?


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