The planned roundabout at l'Argentina

Demonstrations with results. Demolition of the huge roundabout at l’Argentina

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The intended two level roundabouts between Ferreries and Ciutadella (at Son Sintes and Es Tudons) have been cancelled. And now, the Council for the Environment has ruled that the half constructed bridge at l’Argentina between Mahon and Alaior be demolished.

The important demonstrations made by the public during the last government regime against the main road project have borne fruit. When there was a change of government in the last elections of May 2015 some things were thrown out.

As will be remembered, the controversial works between Mahon and Alaior started in September 2014, were preceded by a strong campaign against them. At the end of three months, they were stopped (between December 2014 and March 2015) because the constructors demanded an extra 3 million euros. Without any public explanations, the works were resumed except during the two months for elections and focussed on erecting the bridges across the proposed huge roundabouts for l’Argentina and Alcaidús.

When the new government warned the contractor that they would not accept this extra cost of three million euros, the contract was cancelled without any compensation. From then on began a very complicated administrative process because it dealt with some works which had already started and that could be altered (in the material part) only for grave deficiencies.

This was the case referring to the construction proposed for l’Argentina which was meant to be a double level roundabout. The infrastructure, like that of Alcaidús and Biniai, had very critical reports about its suitability, but political pressure at that time ensured that the building went ahead.

We must remember the most interesting parts of the technical report that the Balearic Government Commission of the Environment gave out at the time that the project was being negotiated, “L’Argentina lower oval roundabout (Pk8 + 220). This under pass and its access roads under consideration would be in a river bed, partially in a geomorphological plain susceptible to flooding (…) for which it would be particularly important to plan some good drainage to avoid the extension of the road being able to turn itself into a water dike (…). Employment of land in such a way seems out of proportion …”

Finally, the works were given the go ahead, on condition that some important drainage be incorporated, even though it had been demonstrated, previously, that they should not be carried out. So it was that works which did not comply with the required technical conditions were authorized but then had to be undone and reconsidered. In the latest and approved version for the Argentina roundabout, the plans for a double level roundabout have disappeared substantially reducing the impact on the landscape as well as the amount of terrain used.

This recent announcement is in addition to the removal of two constructions planned for Son Sintes and Es Tudons, between Ferreries and Ciutadella. Because no works have started the project has been reinstated and awarded already but without outsize roundabouts.

Of the roundabouts which generated protests (the one at the entrance to Alaior was justifiably accepted) two are left. One planned at Biniai, in the middle of nowhere and only thought up for making a traffic direction change has not yet begun so will be easy to cancel. The other is at the cross roads of Alcaidús which has been started like that at l’Argentina and which affects the landscape of the navetas of Rafal Rubí. The replanning of these two roundabouts depends on whether or not any defects can be found to justify their demolition.

A great deal of energy has been invested and borne fruit in avoiding having double level roundabouts every 2.5 kms along the main road of Menorca. It is essential to keep working to make sure that the expected changes are followed up. Congratulations to all those people who participated.