By Bejay Browne
BUSINESS owners, residents and holidaymakers are complaining about ongoing works at a busy tourist hub in Paphos which should have been completed in April, but contractors have been granted an extension to January 2016.
Upgrading work at the Tomb of the Kings road, one of the town’s busiest, has caused disruption and led to a barrage of complaints.
The dual carriageway, which will eventually form part of a ring road around the town, is an ambitious project which includes a central reservation, walkways, cycle paths and a series of roundabouts. The project will cost over €10m, and the money has already been allocated.
The public works department (PWD) has said that a number of issues are responsible for the delays which have led to the contractors, a joint venture between FAP Constructions Ltd and Stelios Kounna Bros. Ltd, being granted a number of extensions.
Project supervisor Panicos Panayiotou of the Paphos PWD told the Mail: “One of them, the main drainage pipes in the area which measures 1 metre in diameter was shown on the drawings as existing. Unfortunately, we didn’t find it – it wasn’t there.”
Panayiotou said that the drawings were prepared by the Paphos sewerage board SAPA and that the plans were quite recent from 2009/2010.
“We had to redesign it; the pipe was almost a kilometre long. It runs from the start of the project by the Agip petrol station, along the road and the exit is by the Venus beach hotel.”
Panayiotou said that the PWD had to first seek approval for additional funds of around €200,000 in direct costs. “There were some delays and they were given a 44 day extension.”
One of other delays the project has faced, also hit all of the contactors in Cyprus, following the closure of the banks in 2013, to prevent a run on deposits. They were then given a 61-day extension.
In addition, a roundabout has been added close to the start of the project, to enable buses and other traffic servicing the hotels to access the exits more easily. They got a 17-day extension for that.
The contractors were also granted 48 days due to problems with unmapped services, especially with water pipes.
In addition, most of these services were in asbestos cement and their removal requires a specific procedure, they can’t just be broken up and removed, and that takes time.
With all the extensions, the new finish date is January 27, 2016, however it looks more likely that the project will be completed by March or April
Panayiotou said that the project is challenging as its on one of the busiest roads in Paphos, traffic flow has to keep moving and the road can’t be closed. There are many pedestrians, it’s a tourist area, and the PWD have had to form temporary walkways for pedestrians within the works.
Problems with locating services and archaeological sites also have to be contended with, he added.
He said that most of the problems are that tourists don’t want to be in an area where there is construction, the hotels are getting complaints.
The project is in eight phases, and by the end of July, Panayiotou anticipates completing four phases plus one roundabout. The roundabout by the Mall has also been started, this phase is due to be completed at the end of October.
So far, the west side of the road from the project’s start point has been completed, including walkways and cycle tracks and by the end of July, all of the east side of the dual carriageway will have asphalt on it, and two lanes and walkways as far as the roundabout will be finished.
The project now has three roundabouts: one at the beginning of the project, one near the Tomb of the Kings entrance and another by the Mall. Work may be further held up if any significant archaeological finds are uncovered.
Phase seven and eight include an area from the Roman hotel, running up to an area of off-street parking, close to the turn to the Elysium hotel. “This is a difficult phase due to start on September 15 as there is a contract restriction period between June 15 to September 15, due to the tourist season.”
Panayiotou said that staff on site have tripled in recent months as contractors try to claw back lost time.
“If they exceed the deadline, they face hefty fines of €6,000 a day for every day they run over,” he said.