Transport Minister Vassiliki Anastasiades on Friday gave assurances that the Kokkinotrimithia-Evrychou highway will go ahead, even as she said that the start of construction has been pushed back a year.
Construction of the 12 km Denia-Astromeritis section of the road is now set to start at the end of 2021 – rather than in 2020 and the 19 km Astromeritis-Evrychou section at the end of 2023, she told the House Transport Committee.
But representatives of affected communities once again put on record their plea for urgent action saying that the bad road conditions were not only dangerous but were leading to rural depopulation.
The minister acknowledged that community leaders had grounds to voice scepticism since different governments have for decades been promising a new road.
“But this time we are at the threshold. We are closer than we have ever been. The studies have been carried out, there is a provision in the budget. We are talking about actions not promises,” she said.
The Finance Ministry had asked the Astromeritis-Evrychou section be re-examined to cut costs while a new environmental impact study was requested because the road goes into Natura 2000 areas. As regards the Denia-Astromeritis road the issue there arose because of the proximity of the planned route with the Turkish occupied north.
Pending the completion of the environmental study instructions have been given for other procedures such as compulsory land purchases go ahead so that the tenders can be invited once the study is ready.
Kakopetria community lead Ioannis Iacovides said that mountains communities were fed up with the delay. He was echoed by Potamiou community leader Yiannakis Ioannou who said he had been hearing about the road since he was a child and now his children are at university.