The long-awaited Nicosia bypass on the perimeter of the capital is a step closer to the start line, with reports saying a tender could be announced as early as next week.
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Following two decades of long-drawn discussion on a highway that would direct “through traffic” away from built-up areas inside Nicosia, media reports say the government is finally ready to issue a land expropriation decree and start the bidding process for the initial phase.
The transport minister has already signed an executive order for land expropriation and a public tender for phase one
According to Philenews, Transport Minister Vasiliki Anastasiadou has already signed two documents, the executive order for land expropriation and the public tender for the initial phase of the bypass. The documents are expected to be published before the week is out, while the tender for the initial phase for the Nicosia bypass is expected to be announced as early as next week.
The bypass, a project that dates back to a Cabinet proposal in 2000, will be completed in five phases and will run 32 kilometres according to media reports. The cost is expected to rise considerably compared to estimates two decades ago, with some media saying it could reach over €350 million.
The first phase will include a stretch of 8 kilometres and 4 unbalanced roundabouts, according to reports.
The main points linked with the bypass are the Nicosia-Limassol highway near the southern entrance of the city and the Nicosia-Kokkinotrimithia highway in the west, while the perimeter will provide exit points into the city along the way. However, other areas were also mentioned in the project, including Geri, east of the capital, with reports saying there had been a number of changes so far and final plans are not known.
The minister, who got €50 million earmarked for the project in the 2019 budget, was criticized late last year by opposition citing a lack of implementation of projects. But Anastasiadou, who cited the economic crisis, said funding included a growth budget and any reduction in 2019 would be overcome as more projects enter the pipeline for the following year.
Some of the delays over kick-starting the bypass project were reportedly caused by land expropriation issues due to rising prices. There were also local communities that protested to the project, citing concerns over the highway splitting their communities in half.
A bypass is expected to alleviate congestion caused by “through traffic” competing with “local traffic” for the same stretch of road. Also, new bus routes would help passengers around the perimeter to avoid traveling downtown and paying additional fare just to transfer buses.