Makarios avenue in Nicosia will be closed to private vehicles as of October 27 once redevelopment works have been completed, the municipality announced on Thursday.

From that day onwards, only public transport, delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles and shop owners and residents will be able to drive down Makarios avenue, as had been the original idea for the street.

According to a written statement by the Nicosia municipality, Makarios avenue and adjacent AG Leventis street will be closed to all traffic from 6am on October 26 so that the roads can be painted.

They will reopen, only to the authorised vehicles, on 10am October 27. It was originally meant to be October 20, but bad weather caused delays.

The street has undergone a revamp in recent years, along with other areas in the centre of the capital.

The municipality said that the particular project was one of the priorities in its development plan as it seeks to make the urban commercial centre of the capital competitive, attractive and friendly to people and the environment.

“In this specific section of Makarios avenue, we are making the first attempt in our country to create an area of reduced pollution within the urban shopping centre.”

The aim is also to create a corridor of unhindered circulation for public transport, with the aim of strengthening sustainable mobility and traffic with environmentally friendly means, “without discrimination against disabled people and with the consequent benefits of reducing traffic congestion, pollution and noise and increasing the level of safety, visitability and commerciality of the area”.

After being partially closed for months, there was disagreement last year on what vehicles would be able to use the avenue when it finally reopened. The road was opened on December 7 last year although it was closed to traffic over the festive period.

The audit service had said that changes to the plans could lead to the withdrawal of €13m of government funds allocated for the redevelopment project.

Audit service spokesperson Marios Petrides said the funds for the project were allocated “under specific conditions” and that a change in the plans would violate the agreement.

Nicosia mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis then said the decision to allow private vehicles on Makarios avenue would only be allowed for about a year while all redevelopment works in the area were completed.

He said allowing private cars on the road did not constitute a change to the original plan, as suggested by the audit service, since it concerns regulations that will only apply once the works on the commercial triangle are completed.

The redevelopment of the entire area was designed to promote sustainable mobility on one of the capital’s busiest roads.