Edition 1453
09 December 2017
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British couple driven to despair over dangerous T-junction

in Algarve · 03-08-2017 14:04:00 · 1 Comments

A British couple who own a second home in the Algarve have been driven to despair over a dangerous intersection that provides the sole access to their and other hilltop villas. They have reached the point of offering to pay for work to the black spot out of their own pockets as they look to improve safety for themselves and others, which they say is the result of years of fruitless talks with the local council.

British couple driven to despair over dangerous T-junction

The narrow access lane is perpendicular to a main road, the EN270, between the city of Loulé and the town of São Brás de Alportel, and is the only way of reaching the handful of properties on the Fonte Marta hill.
Entering and exiting the lane is, according to Roy Smith, 70, and his partner Annette Erwin, like “dicing with death” as visibility around the corners of the blind spot is dependent on two mirrors on the opposite side of the main road.
“We can’t really see to either side as we pull out and other vehicles come flying down the main road, even though there’s supposed to be a 60km speed limit. There have been a lot of near-misses and three accidents in the last two weeks”, Mr. Smith told The Portugal News on Tuesday.
He recalls: “Ten days ago was the nearest I’ve ever come to having a serious accident there. As I pulled out I saw two trucks come speeding down from either side. I honestly thought that was it. I remember thinking to myself; I just hope this doesn’t hurt.”
Another bone of contention is the shabby municipal road that snakes up the hillside from the risky turn-off to the smattering of predominantly foreign-owned villas.
“If ever there was an emergency, like a fire, we’d be in trouble. You can’t get out of here in a hurry”, Roy Smith argues.
Suggestions of a new, alternative road located just north of the existing track, which would have to cross private land, have emerged from the Town Hall, but again, no progress has been apparent.
Mr. Smith claims his partner Annette is reluctant to leave the villa in the car “unless there is someone with her to help negotiate the junction.
“If she’s here by herself it’s like being a prisoner in paradise”, he laments.
Annette concurs, saying: “It’s just plain dangerous. It’s very, very scary.”
The couple, from York, who have owned the property in São Brás de Alportel for six years and spend half of the year in Portugal, claim talks with the local council started “a couple of years ago” but despite promises of improvements, they have yet to see any action taken.
“It’s coming to the point that it’s affecting our quality of life. We spend all our time out here in talks with the Câmara but to no avail. I’ve been there at least six times in the past 12 months”, Mr. Smith says, adding: “We’ve been told help is imminent, something is going to happen, but nothing’s happened yet.
“I’ve done everything I possibly can, I’ve gone by the rule book, but we’re getting nowhere.”
Tired of waiting for action, the couple took it upon themselves to talk to the owner of a private property that forms one of the corners of the intersection.
The local man has agreed to partially knock down a retaining wall and cut down his trees to improve visibility to the left of the T-junction; work the British couple have agreed to pay “between €2,000 and €3,000” for, out of their own pockets.
Speaking to The Portugal News on Wednesday, São Brás Councillor for Land Planning, Infrastructures, Mobility and Licencing, Acácio Martins, agreed that the Fonte Marta road situation is “critical”, but explained it is also complex as the EN270 falls under the jurisdiction of national road management company Infraestruturas de Portugal.
He acknowledged the efforts made by Roy Smith and Annette, and said the council would facilitate work on the private property to improve the intersection by exempting it of any licencing that would normally be required.
He also confirmed a second, more direct road from the EN270 to the villas on Fonte Marta hill, which would traverse the same private property, has been “given the green light.”
“We understand the proprietors’ struggles and we cannot be careful enough.
“Nothing is in writing yet, but proceedings have been successful. We are making all efforts for this to move forward by the end of the year, if not before”, he guaranteed.

Comments

manana...things so seldom change
by susan hall from UK on 04-08-2017 05:26:00

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Edition 1453
09 December 2017
Edition: 1453

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter