Cyprus Mail

Bids submitted for new Polis road as row rumbles on

The habitat of birds is under threat, say Birdlife

The bidding process for Pafos-Polis Chrysochou motorway closed on Friday, despite efforts by BirdLife and the Green Party to stop its construction.

According to an official announcement, four offers have been submitted, which are expected to be assessed soon so the project can start as early as possible.

“We continue to stand against the construction of the motorway and we will keep trying to protect the ecosystem of the area,” Nature Policy Officer at BirdLife Vasiliki Anastasi told the Cyprus Mail on Friday.

The €70 million project, a four-lane highway, is planned to start from near Ayia Marinouda, pass north from Marathounta and Tsada, and west from Kallepia and Stroumpi to end at the current road after Stroumpi.

The project is part of the ministry’s strategic plans to improve the road network as a public interest project. Construction is estimated to be complete in three and a half years.

“This 31-kilometre-long motorway, which will require at least five bridges and two tunnels, will dissect an untouched landscape of high ecological value, including the protected site of Ezousa Valley,” BirdLife’s petition against it said.

The petition, which gained 2,500 signatures, was submitted to the deputy minister to the president Vasilis Palmas at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday and had suggested the much cheaper solution of upgrading the existing road instead.

Paphos Diko MP Charalambos Pittokopitis, claimed the timing of the petition was suspicious and that the petition was a hostile action against Paphos.

The Green Party on Friday issued an announcement in support of BirdLife saying the accusations against the NGO’s are unaccepted. “Some people have been insisting for decades on the mammoth project instead of drastically improving the existing road. Those people are responsible and not BirdLife because for 25 years nothing has been done.”

According to BirdLife, the construction will impede partly on a Natura 2000 zone and will affect a number of bird species including the Bonelli’s Eagle, the Long-legged Buzzard, the Peregrine Falcon, the European Roller, and the endemic species of Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler with the loss of a significant habitat.

“The Ministerial Council decided on 15 March 2019 to declare the new Pafos-Polis Chrysochous motorway a “Public Interest” project ignoring the EU Directive governing Natura 2000 sites, which states that consideration of alternatives is a prerequisite before any project can be declared of Public Interest,” the NGO said.


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