Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *

Western section EN125 roadworks to be completed by Friday, January 12th (2018)

roundabout2The western section of the EN125 upgrade will be finished this coming Friday, January 12th 2018. Thus spake Rui Sousa, the man in charge of Rotas do Algarve Litoral.

Claiming that everything will be ready, signage in place, sidewalks completed, roundabouts in action and new road surfaces laid, Sousa is convinced that all will be completed in the next three days, come rain or shine, 100% definite.

The introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante in December 2011 saw the start of a sharp drop in traffic volume to 50% of peak - drivers were opting to use the free-to-use EN125 alternative. 

The Passos Coelho government bought-off the anti-toll Algarve’s mayors by promising that over €200 million would be spent on upgrading the EN125 to make it a 'viable alternative' to the motorway.

That was over seven years ago and the first part of the upgrade may, or may not be finished later this week.

The eastern part of the EN125, from Olhão to the border town of Vila Real de Santo António, has had seven years of close-to-zero investment, resulting in its deplorable state despite this being the first section of road that tens of thousands of tourists drive on each year.

There is no expenditure in the 2018 State Budget for the eastern section of the EN125 - planned expenditure on the Algarve’s infrastructure has reched an historic and inexplicable low, despite the region providing over 40% of the country’s tourism revenue. Of the 2018 budget, the Social Democratic opposition party commented that the Government "has money to spend, just not in the Algarve."

On the nearly-completed western section of the EN125, motorists have been incensed at the ‘traffic calming’ measure introduced in a seemingly deliberate plan to make journeys as frustrating as possible.

Slowing traffic to a crawl for long stretches, all vehicles adhering to the speed of the slowest caravan or tractor, does not help the region’s flow of goods or people.

An example, sent in by a dear reader, is the removal of the traffic lights at the International School near Lagoa where drivers now have to go several kilometres to the roundabout at Fatacil just to be able to head east again.

Many long stretches of road, where overtaking had been allowed, now are dotted with long lines of plastic bollards to force drivers to sit in frustration as vehicles creep along the highway in single file.

Whatever drivers’ pet hates, the EN125 is slower and arguably more frustrating, the Via do Infante is expensive compared to other of Portugal’s toll roads, work on one section of the EN125 has taken seven years and the eastern section has no start date.

This endless roadworks programme has caused disruption, loss of business efficiency, ridicule, exasperation and a valid observation that when it comes to infrastructure investment in the Algarve, plans are haphazard, delayed, poorly communiated and deliberately disruptive.

 

Image may contain: sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

Via do Infante road surface near Tavira - 'Welcome to Portugal'

Comments  

0 #8 john clare 2018-01-16 17:28
The changes to the western section of the 125 have made the road pretty well unusable. I've given up on it. I assume the mess that's been made was done to force more people onto the motorway. Who wants concrete blocks where the bus stops are? Why are there pavements in the middle of the road? Roundabouts everywhere, and overtaking appears to be forbidden for most of the length. It is not fit for purpose.
Quote
0 #7 TJB 2018-01-14 06:58
I would have to dispute that the western end of the EN 125 is now complete. The traffic lights at the Espiche camp site still exist causing considerable delay especially last summer. A new “slip” road was built from the Espiche roundabout to meet up with the old road that went to the campsite, but the old traffic lights were replaced with new lights which continue to stop traffic flow on the EN125 to enable camping site traffic to enter/exit rather than using the new “slip” road.
Quote
+6 #6 Ed 2018-01-11 08:52
Heralded as a 'major cost saving,' the previous Finance Minister, Maria Luis Albuquerque, said the renegotiation of the PPP funding and concession agreement had "saved taxpayers millions."

In fact, she had agreed that the State now pays for the upkeep of the Via do Infante, the 'cost saving' on the contract being the discount for the concession holder no longer having to maintain the motorway. The State now is responsible for the repairs and maintenance, this is why the road is not being repaired or maintained.

So what happens to the collected tolls? Are they pure bunce for the concession holder? What does he do in return for collecting them?

...sits there and waits for the money to come rolling in. If the income from tolls is below an agreed amount, which it always has been, the general taxpayer has to pay the difference. This has been as high as €40 million a year just for the A22.

As the concession holder now does not have to maintain the road, this annual subsidy will be lower - probaly another heralded 'cost saving.'

This M. Mouse scheme is ruinous, as are most PPP deals, and in not way represents good value for the taxpayer, especially as the EU built the road in the first place - so why did it need additional PP funding? Greed and corruoption surrounds this matter. Sadly, not even our MPs may see the concession contract as it's commercially sensitive - I bet it is!
Quote
+1 #5 Peter Booker 2018-01-11 08:38
Quoting Ed:
Quoting Peter Booker:
"Of the 2018 budget, the Social Democratic opposition party commented that the Government "has money to spend, just not in the Algarve.""

The PSD is in a poor position to criticise, since they created the mess in the first place, and they have consistently refused to invest in EN125.

I am not a regular user of the Via Rápida, but the eastern section at least shows increasing signs of progressive wear. So we pay our tolls and the road gets worse. Just who is responsible for its upkeep?

And you are right, Ed, that it will soon be necessary to have a 4x4 to navigate safely on the eastern EN125.


Heralded as a 'major cost saving,' the previous Finance Minister, Maria Luis Albuquerque, said the renegotiation of the PPP funding and concession agreement had saved taxpayers millions. In fact, she had agreed that the State now pays for the upkeep of the Via do Infante, the 'cost saving' on the contract being the discount for the concession holder no longer having to maintain the motorway. The State now is responsible for the repairs and maintenance, this is why the road is not being repaired or maintained.


So what happens to the collected tolls? Are they pure bunce for the concession holder? What does he do in return for collecting them?
Quote
+3 #4 TT 2018-01-10 14:27
Quoting Ed:
..... The State now is responsible for the repairs and maintenance, this is why the road is not being repaired or maintained.

To be fair, the east section of the A22 (Tavira to Spanish border) has had some token repairs to the surface done in the past few weeks, very patchy but repairs nonetheless. But again, cost-saving seems to be the order of the day as some of the recent repairs are showing cracks already. And no one seems to be accountable, so the sorry mess will doubtless continue.
Quote
+7 #3 Ed 2018-01-10 08:40
Quoting Peter Booker:
"Of the 2018 budget, the Social Democratic opposition party commented that the Government "has money to spend, just not in the Algarve.""

The PSD is in a poor position to criticise, since they created the mess in the first place, and they have consistently refused to invest in EN125.

I am not a regular user of the Via Rápida, but the eastern section at least shows increasing signs of progressive wear. So we pay our tolls and the road gets worse. Just who is responsible for its upkeep?

And you are right, Ed, that it will soon be necessary to have a 4x4 to navigate safely on the eastern EN125.


Heralded as a 'major cost saving,' the previous Finance Minister, Maria Luis Albuquerque, said the renegotiation of the PPP funding and concession agreement had saved taxpayers millions. In fact, she had agreed that the State now pays for the upkeep of the Via do Infante, the 'cost saving' on the contract being the discount for the concession holder no longer having to maintain the motorway. The State now is responsible for the repairs and maintenance, this is why the road is not being repaired or maintained.
Quote
+5 #2 Peter Booker 2018-01-10 08:22
"Of the 2018 budget, the Social Democratic opposition party commented that the Government "has money to spend, just not in the Algarve.""

The PSD is in a poor position to criticise, since they created the mess in the first place, and they have consistently refused to invest in EN125.

I am not a regular user of the Via Rápida, but the eastern section at least shows increasing signs of progressive wear. So we pay our tolls and the road gets worse. Just who is responsible for its upkeep?

And you are right, Ed, that it will soon be necessary to have a 4x4 to navigate safely on the eastern EN125.
Quote
+5 #1 Mike Towl 2018-01-10 07:38
Balanced Article, Ed.
Quote