It will be a bridge that will give primacy to pedestrian and cycling traffic and which will “diminish into the landscape”. The guarantee was given to the Sul Informação by Ana Paula Martins, mayor of Tavira, who considers that there is no reason to contest the new bridge over the Gilão river, in the city's downtown.
The Chamber of Tavira reacted to the critiques of the citizens' movement Tavira Semper, who demanded the suspension of the project for the new bridge, following the start of work to dismantle the old military bridge, which was to be provisional, but which was used for more than two decades.
The local authority guaranteed that the new bridge will fit in well with the landscape and refuted that the process has progressed in the absence of the population, in response to the accusations and demands made by the movement.
Contacted by our newspaper, Ana Paula Martins reinforced this position and also spoke about the issue of the bridge providing a road for car traffic, another criticism of Tavira Semper, who believes that the new crossing will "bring more traffic to the historic center".
"For me, to be making an investment of this size and not preparing the possibility of having a transit lane, even for emergency vehicles, would not make sense", he said.
Even so, the idea “will always be to maintain a pedestrian logic and give some continuity to what was the redevelopment of Praça da República”. In other words, pedestrian preference will always be given and the traffic “will be subject to very strict rules”.
Ana Paula Martins even admits that this road destined for automobile traffic can be closed at certain times, “as was the case with the military bridge. But the lane is there and, at the outset, it is to be used, as I think it makes sense to have a part of traffic».
Tavira Semper also makes considerations in relation to the bridge's aesthetics, saying that it resembles “a mere viaduct, ten meters wide”.
«The designer is knowledgeable about the city and was concerned with thinking of a bridge that would be diluted in the landscape and that would be as discreet as possible. The idea is that it doesn't come into conflict with the Roman Bridge, our ex-libris, and with the rest of the historic center», explained Ana Paula Martins.
«There was even a study of which colors to be used, carried out by the University of Lisbon. It is not true that the bridge was placed there without thinking about the surroundings, this concern is very clear», assured the mayor of Tavir.
In the press release that the Câmara de Tavira sent to the newsrooms, it is highlighted that “the design of the new bridge corresponds to a contemporary reinterpretation of the formal constructions existing in the place. The infrastructure that is now starting to be born is characterized by simplicity, lightness and quality of finishes».
Another issue that led Tavira Semper Civic Movement to demand the halt of the entire process is the fact that, allegedly, the population has seen itself “completely removed from the public debate and the decision taken by the municipal executive”.
In this field, the mayor stated that the municipality never hid its intention, which was publicized by various means, recalling that a project “of this type does not require public discussion. This work was part of our electoral programs and was always advertised by us, including in fairs and in municipal magazines».
«The progress of this project was reported, on the website, on social networks and in the media, in March 2016, as well as in the January 2016 and 2017 editions of the municipal magazine. In this last publication, the city council made clear what the solution had been designed and informed that it was a concrete structure, based on two pillars, given the distance between the banks. He also stressed the desire to keep car traffic open, making it urgent to replace it with a definitive structure that guarantees the safety conditions of users», reads the press release.
On the other hand, «in January 2018, the executive promoted a project presentation session, with the presence of the person responsible for its preparation, the engineer Júlio Appleton, aimed at the council's mayors (members of the Municipal Assembly, which include the Parish Council Presidents), where the concern with aesthetics, functionality and the framing with the surroundings was explained in detail».
Today, Tavira Semper sent a new note to the newsrooms, where it reaffirms the criticisms before done.
Ana Paula Martins guarantees, for her part, that “there are many people in favor of the bridge”, namely among the merchants in the downtown area.
"The municipality acted with all transparency and this intervention, in conjunction with other works carried out recently and the future redevelopment of the banks, whose projects are still underway and aim to favor pedestrian circulation, bicycles and other smooth modes, will benefit and enhance the prime area of the city», concludes the note from the Câmara de Tavira.