Around 200 people gathered in Vilamoura on Tuesday morning to protest against work being carried out to improve the EN125 road, the only cross-region alternative to the Via do Infante motorway, causing an hour-long road block.
Quarteira Parish Mayor José Mendes said: “People are upset, their lives are already disrupted by the traffic and constant noise and now they [the Government] want to steal parts of their land and plant a road on their doorsteps.”
The EN125 upgrading project proposes expanding the two-lane road to become a four-lane road with a central separator.
“There are alternatives”, Mr. Mendes said, arguing that it would be possible to maintain the existing two-lane structure by building “roundabouts so that traffic flows”, as well as building a “flyover that directly links Albufeira to the Via do Infante (A22).”
Many residents, who will be affected by the EN125 improvement works should they go ahead in full, have spoken out against the plans.
One 58-year-old local, Maria Amélia, who worked for 40 years in Paris to pay off the home she lives in, is worried that the upgrading works will engulf the whole of her garden which is adjacent to the EN125.
She vowed to “fight until the death”, if necessary, and appealed to the Portuguese President and Prime Minister to listen to the protests and “urgently” resolve the situation.
Maria Amélia said that she had spent €25,000 “a little while ago” to soundproof all doors and windows in her home because of the noise.
“And now they are going to take part of my land and build a dangerous road five metres from my front door”, she said.
Owners of businesses along the EN125 are also up in arms over the plans; their main concerns are that they will lose parking spaces for clients and that they could even lose the steps that provide access to the establishments.
But it seems that the protestors have been successful in their action in as much as a meeting has been negotiated with the head of Portuguese road management company Estradas de Portugal, and was scheduled for Thursday afternoon (4 August).
GNR riot police, traffic police and two police units from Loulé and Quarteira were dispatched to oversee the protest.