The temporary closure of a tarnished road stretch in Paphos, where a Russian couple was killed over the weekend, caused controversy among some groups who say the measure was excessive.
On Saturday, a tourist couple, both Russian nationals aged 58 and 48 who were holidaying in Cyprus, were driving in the Kakoskali area in the afternoon, near the Baths of Aphrodite, when their rental car veered off a cliff and plunged some 30 metres deep.
Both were killed instantly with state forensic pathologists saying the couple died of head traumas, while the body of the husband had also been crushed by the weight of the vehicle.
Officials and media outlets were quickly flooded with calls, saying a number of complaints had been ignored by authorities regarding dangers on that road while warnings had fallen on deaf ears.
The road was reopened Monday, while the Green Party issued a statement calling for Kakoskali to remain closed to vehicular traffic, citing nature considerations
A joint decision by the Police and the Forestry Department led to the closure of the Kakoskali road passage on Sunday, a day following the fatal accident.
But the mayor of Polis Chrysochous, Yiotis Papachristofi, says the closure was “unacceptable” and argued that the road has been “in use for centuries” by locals who work in the area as well as tourists visiting Akamas national park.
Knews understands the road was reopened on Monday, while the Green Party issued a statement calling for Kakoskali to remain closed to vehicular traffic, citing nature considerations. The Greens also argue only ambulances and fire trucks should have access to that road stretch.
A youth group from Polis sided with the mayor, saying the measure taken to shut down the road was “unnecessary,” echoing Papachristofi who also argued safety on that road ought to be improved immediately.
“Any other decision, especially the one which impedes on free movement and unobstructed passage in this important piece of our land goes counter to what we stand for,” the group said in a statement.
Another voice calling on authorities to act immediately came from the community leader of Neo Chorio in the area, Andreas Christodoulou Machimos. He says he wrote to the Agriculture Minister back in September outlining the risks and listing a number of accidents in the area.
Machimos, who describes the road stretch as a “guillotine” also criticised the government in his letter for failing to include the 2km road in upcoming public works projects. He said the government should work on improving safety on Kakoskali road stretch, which is accessible to the public, citing a government plan that calls on a number of public narrow or dirt roads in the area to become accessible for all types of vehicles.
Road to be fixed by next summer
Paphos District forestry administrator Michalis Makris says fixing the road is not an easy task but it is already in the works, estimated to take place next year.
Makris told Knews that the Kakoskali road is a mixture of hard surface but also ruts in the soil, and it would take a concerted effort to fix the road. Money has already been earmarked and the decision is expected to be taken by a council.
Makris said a safer road would be ready before next summer.