The project of the new bridge over the river Gilão, in Tavira, is being criticized by the Tavira Semper Civic Movement. The dismantling works of the old military bridge have already started, but the familiar images and the valences of the new crossing led this group of citizens to send an open letter to Ana Paula Martins, president of the City Council. The objective is that the work does not advance.
In a note sent to the newsrooms, the movement considers that the new bridge, which was awarded in April, «will bring more cars to the historic center» and that «is similar to a mere viaduct, 10 meters wide».
Tavira Semper Movimiento Cívico also complains that the project "has never been the subject of public discussion" and that it does not obey "any aesthetic concern of integrating the typical architecture of downtown Tavirense".
The new bridge will have a lane for cars that, according to the group of citizens, “will cause an overload of traffic and pollution in the historic center, contrary to what is the global trend of removing pressure on cities. Furthermore, it will force the cutting of the pedestrian area of the iconic Jardim do Coreto and drive cars to areas where there are no parking solutions and where pedestrian areas, which generate the enjoyment of space, should be privileged».
The civic movement also accuses the Tavira Chamber of having ignored, «over the last few years, all the criticisms and questions, never explaining the choice of this project, nor disclosing the studies that support it. The population was completely removed from the public debate and the decision taken by the municipal executive».
Tavira Semper Civic Movement says it is made up of “concerned citizens who want their city not to be the target of a civilizational setback. Composed of elements from the most varied political and professional backgrounds, it intends to see this work stopped and to leave the best option for the future of Rio Gilão and the city's downtown to debate».
“As Tavira and friends of Tavira, we do not accept that, in the heart of the historic centre, a piece of concrete that does not reflect the cultural nature of the city is dumped”, highlights the movement on its official Facebook page.
In January of last year, Jorge Botelho, then president of the Chamber of Tavira, assured the Sul Informação, at a time when the project was already the target of criticism, that «the bridge is more beautiful in reality than in the drawings presented».
“When an engineering work is carried out in the center of Tavira, there is never a consensus. There are those who argue that it should be an architect's project on an international scale, others argue that it should be something disappearing into the landscape, and there are those who say that it should be a work of exceptional engineering and architecture, a unique piece. However, our idea is that no bridge should distort, or compete with, the medieval or Roman bridge, as it is commonly called. This is our ex-libris, it is part of our heritage and all the others are ways of crossing the city», said Jorge Botelho.
the now secretary of state he considered that the construction of the new bridge “was expressly validated by the people in the Municipal Elections”, because “the bridge was in the electoral program and was a discussed topic”.
Jorge Botelho also highlighted that a traffic lane is justified “because this is an investment projected over the years. Thus, it has the possibility of being open or closed” to car circulation.
The new bridge, which connects Largo da Caracolinha to Rua do Cais, will cost 1,47 million euros to the municipality's coffers and will replace the military bridge, a temporary structure that has been in use for 28 years.