Minister of Transport Alexis Vafeades has responded to dissatisfaction and concern over six-month delays in the Larnaca-Dhekelia road improvement works, it emerged on Wednesday.

The minister noted that the six-month delay in the completion of Phase A of the project is mainly due to Larnaca water board, electricity authority (EAC), and CYTA service installations.

The minister was responding to a question from Diko MP Christos Orphanides, about congestion and other problems caused by the construction works.

Vafeades recalled that implementation of the project to improve the Larnaca-Dhekelia coastal road, has been expected by the residents for years to improve their quality of life, and ease traffic to and from the Oroklini-Dhekelia tourist areas.

The construction works underway necessitate an inevitable inconvenience to network users, commercial properties, houses and access to beaches in the area, the minister acknowledged.

The contract foresees the execution of the project in five phases, with the first section being that of the main road, which was delivered in mid-November, he said.

Vafeades noted that delays of around five-and-a-half months were “justified […] due to works related to existing services within the boundaries of the project belonging to the Larnaca water board (Syl), the EAC and CYTA, and [due to the additional need] to stabilise sections of the road by placement of rocky material which was not foreseen in the [original] contract.”

The department of public works, in consultation with the contractor, “has already taken actions to limit the delay [and] and mitigate inconvenience to residents of the area,” the minister noted, adding that weekly meetings are held to determine progress and coordinate with the utility services.

“The contractor works overtime on weekdays and all Saturdays, [and] when necessary, work is also done on Sundays. In addition, the contractor, in consultation with the supervision team and the project engineer, is in daily contact with the affected residents and property owners with the aim of minimising the [works’] impact,” the minister said

Decisions have already been taken to cope with and resolve anticipated new problems and therefore no further delays are expected, he said.

Hoteliers in the area expressed concern over loss of tourist revenue and have requested for works in those sections are to be carried out only during the winter season.

“The public works department is examining the possibility of not carrying out work during the summer, either by collapsing two phases into one, or by modifying the boundaries of the phases,” the minister stated.