12° Nicosia,
23 May, 2024
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Cyprus paves the way in its ambitious road infrastructure agenda

Unveiling the €2 Billion vision for enhanced mobility and sustainable urban development

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

During the summer, the first phase of the Nicosia perimeter motorway is expected to be completed, with delays, while the delivery schedule of the first phase of the Pafos-Polis Chrysochous road is also changing. The director of the Public Works Department, Eleftherios Eleftheriou, describes to "K" the demands of the project contractors, the procedure to be followed if their requests are not approved, and the conditions for imposing penalties. He also unfolds the plans of the Department of Public Works concerning new project tenders, as well as the new roads we will see in 2024. For the next three years, Eleftheriou says, the Department will have to run projects with an estimated budget of about 2 billion euros.

- We have heard various dates for the completion of phase A of the Nicosia perimeter road. What stage is the project at, and when will it finally be completed?

- To date, 75% of all work on the project has been completed. More specifically, 95% of the roadworks, 70% of the storm drains, 60% of the road pavements, 50% of the ancillary works, and 96% of the construction of major works have been completed. The project is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2024.

- But what is the delivery date under the contract?

- Under the contract, the completion time is 36 months, with a start date of 23 March 2020 and a completion date of 23 March 2023. The project has an approved time extension until 16 March 2024, and a request for a further extension is being considered until July 2024. If the request for an extension of time is not approved, there will be a penalty from March 16 to July when the project is expected to be completed. A decision on the request for the time extension is expected in the next few days.

- How will the completion of Phase 1 help reduce traffic congestion?

- The first phase of the project includes a motorway of approximately 7.5 km in length to connect the existing Nicosia-Lemesos (A1) motorway with the Strovolos/Tseriou avenue, as well as 10 km of connecting roads to restore links with the existing road network. It is estimated that at the end of Phase A, and based on the forecasts of the techno-economic and traffic study carried out for the whole project, the reduction in traffic on the Nicosia-Lemesos motorway, despite the entrance to Nicosia, will be in the order of 10%, while the reduction in traffic on Spyrou Kyprianou is expected to be in the order of 25%.

- What is the timetable for the completion of all phases of the Nicosia ring road?

- The next phase that is scheduled to be done is phase B3, and it concerns the route of the motorway from the west of Archbishop Makarios III Avenue in Lakatameia, alongside the Pedaion River towards Anthoupolis and areas of Deftera. For this phase, the estimated construction cost is 35 million, and the bidding process will take place in May or June 2024. The implementation time for this phase is two years. It is expected that phase three will be tendered in 2025. In total, there are eight phases and sub-phases of the project, with a total cost of more than €350 million and a completion date of 2034. The completion of the perimeter will achieve improved connectivity across the road network, as it will connect the Nicosia-Lemesos, Nicosia-Troodos, and the proposed Nicosia-Palichori highway. We also have upgraded accessibility and upgrading of the surrounding communities, particularly between the western and eastern parts of Greater Nicosia, which are currently not connected via an integrated main road network. It also achieves a reduction in the traffic of vehicles entering Nicosia and the affected network, environmental benefits, as well as congestion relief on urban roads in the capital.

"Certainly there are many other ways to use them to solve the traffic problem, but the main arteries and highways that will connect the city to the province need to be built."

Pafos-Polis road

- What about the Pafos-Polis Chrysochous road? There have been some issues here too with the timetables and the contractor's requirements.

- There have indeed been some differences with the contractor, which are to be expected in this type of project, which are being assessed by the employer's representative. Some of these have already been evaluated and have been tracked through the newly established procedures at the ''Departmental Change and Requirements Committee''. Despite the differences, there is a very good understanding between the Department and the project contractor. Our commitment is to resolve issues as they arise in a timely manner, while the contractor's commitment is that the project will be completed. At this time, earthworks and engineering works, underground and above-ground crossings, works for square stormwater drains, and construction of the two tunnels are underway.

- What are the contractor's requirements?

- There are about 20-25 requests from the contractor, and demands for an extension of the delivery time of the project due to various issues that have arisen, such as access to the reservoirs, as well as issues that - as the contractor claims - have arisen due to the war in Ukraine, such as a change in the cost and delivery time of materials. Each of these issues is being considered, and appropriate decisions are being taken.

- What is the new timetable based on these claims and what financial compensation is the contractor seeking?

- The contractual completion date for the project is the end of 2024, but the contractor has stated in its own positioning that it will complete the project in the first half of 2025. A request for an extension has been submitted and is being reviewed by a representative of the employer. As for the financial compensation, this is in the amount of several million euros. The contractor's claims will be brought before the competent bodies. Some have been raised, and a decision on whether these claims are justified is awaited.

- Is it possible that the project will not proceed?

- Work is ongoing, and I believe that there is no possibility of the project being stopped. The employer through its representative has regular meetings every month with the company, all issues that arise are assessed and addressed, and in the meetings that have taken place, there is a clear commitment from the contractor that they will complete the project.

Earthworks and technical works, underground and overpasses, works for square rainwater drains and the construction of the two tunnels on the Paphos-Polis road are in progress.

Road projects worth €240 million

- What other major projects are in progress, or under construction?

A total of 10 major road projects are in progress, totaling €240.3 million. Starting with the construction of the road network despite the new football stadium in Kolossi, which is expected to be completed in April, and the upgrading of the road network within the community of Tseri, the completion of which is expected within the 2nd half of 2024. We also have the construction of the Astromeritis-Evrychou motorway, which is currently underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025 with a contract amount of €74 million. The improvement of Ippokratous and Argyroupoleos avenues and part of Tseriou Avenue in Strovolos from the lights of Theoktistos upwards is also in progress, which is being executed and is expected to be completed in the 2nd half of 2025. In 2025, the first phase of the Paphos-Polis Chrysochous motorway is expected to be completed, while in the 1st half of the same year, the €13.7 million Sotira-Deryneia road improvement project is expected to be completed. +VAT. In addition, the construction of the Nicosia-Palaichori motorway, the section from Anagia to Agrokipia which is under progress and will be completed in the 2nd half of 2026, for the amount of €65 million, and the improvement of the Larnaka-Dhekelia coastal road (phase 3), which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2025, will proceed. The construction of the Germasogeia-Akrounta-Dierona-Arakapas road is expected to be completed in the summer, as well as the construction of the Limassol-Saitta road. It is a road that will clearly help the mountainous areas of Limassol by providing easy access to Limassol and road safety to the driver. The existing road had to be improved with a motorway. Therefore, we proceeded with the implementation of the 1st part of the project and a project note has already been prepared for the next phase. So, if we get a positive opinion from the Ministry of Finance, we will proceed with the preparation of construction plans for the implementation of this project as well.

- Are there more roads coming in 2024?

-In 2024, seven road projects with a total estimated cost of €45 million are expected to be announced. For example, the construction of a connection between Akadimias Avenue and Fytoriou Street in Aglantzia (subject to the approval of the Environmental Authority), at an estimated cost of €3 million, Famagusta Avenue in Nicosia, in April, amounting to €8.7 million. and the construction of a Stavrou interchange at the entrance to Nicosia, at an estimated cost of €19.5 million + VAT and with an execution period of 30 months. The project for the improvement of the existing Paphos-Polis Chrysochous road (phase B2) is expected to be announced in April with an execution period of 12 months.

-The competent Minister of Transport had stated in a previous interview with Kathimerini newspaper that the construction of roads is not the solution to alleviate the traffic problem.

-We must make the basic infrastructure for vehicle traffic, which will decongest city centers and connect mountainous or more remote areas with cities (as in the case of the Paphos-Polis road and the Limassol-Saitta road). The construction of the main arteries and motorways as well as the perimeter road is absolutely necessary to provide the basic infrastructure for vehicular traffic. Certainly, there are many other ways to use them to solve the traffic problem, but the main arteries and highways that will connect the city with the province need to be built.

The goals and vision of Public Works

-What is your goal upon assuming your duties and what is the vision of the Department?

-The vision of the Department of Public Works and the Ministry is to be able to implement the projects that are prioritized by the government to serve the citizens, to implement sustainable urban mobility projects that have to do with reducing the use of private vehicles and the use of public transport, reducing pollutants and upgrading. Therefore, we, through our planning, must provide bicycle lanes, pedestrian zones, and bus lanes so that, through our vision, we can convince citizens to use the bus, the bicycle, and the sidewalks. Through the implementation of these projects, we must provide citizens with the opportunity and the option to use all these modes of transport safely. At the same time, we have a series of building projects such as the new Cyprus Museum, the building of the blood center, the building of the land registry, etc., which aim to improve the quality of life and everyday life of citizens.

-What is the total budget for the projects to be implemented by the Department of Public Works?

-For the next three years (2024-2027), the Department of Public Works must implement projects of more than €1.9 billion, which have to do with buildings, roads, and beach protection issues, with the largest volume of projects concentrated on the construction of buildings and the road network and the implementation of sustainable urban mobility.

[This interview was translated from its Greek original and  may have been edited for brevity and clarity]

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