The GSD yesterday levied stern criticism at the Gibraltar Government for the way in which the Rock’s roads and pavements have been allowed to deteriorate and, what it claims, is a lack of effective programme of repairs.
But, in hitting back yesterday evening the Government insisted that the GSD’s criticism was “opportunistic”.
In a statement the Government said the issue is not that there is no programme of works, but that there are too many vehicles in Gibraltar.
“It is obvious to everyone in Gibraltar that our roads are subject to considerable wear and tear on a daily basis both by local vehicles and by traffic coming in through the border,” the statement read.
“It is also clear that the Government has resurfaced roads in different parts of Gibraltar as part of its on-going programme and that it will continue to do so.”
“However, the issue is not that there is no programme of works, the issue is that there are too many vehicles in Gibraltar,” No.6 Convent Place said.
According to the GSD, the Government has “completely lost sight of basics” like the need for clean, tidy and safe streets.
It explained that a continuous and effective maintenance programme is required and said the GSD would be committed to providing such.
Trevor Hammond, GSD Transport spokesman said: “While Government may have flirted around the edges of a proper repairs programme for our roads and pavements, the fact is that many of our main thoroughfares, inevitably those most used are in a deplorable position.”
“Surfaces are potholed and crumbling away for lack of any maintenance, road markings have faded to the extent that many are invisible and Government does nothing about it.”
“Indeed when markings are painted, all too often the first efforts are incorrect and need to be re-done wasting both time and money”.
“With congestion worse than ever, with parking more difficult than ever and while the Minister contemplates his expensively bought but flawed strategic plan for traffic and parking, the reality on the ground is that there is no effective maintenance programme to address the fundamentals and too much time and money is wasted correcting mistakes.”
“One need only look at the fiasco that was the new roundabout on Devil’s Tower Road, one of many examples highlighting mistakes by the Ministry.”
“If Government was genuine in its commitment to make walking a more pleasant experience in Gibraltar, to encourage cycling, to make our streets safer in general it must get back to basics, make the investment and begin to effect repairs and maintenance of our streets.”
“The fact is that in the six months since last raising this concern, Government have done nothing significant with respect to the problem.”
In response the Government highlighted the fact that there are over thirty two thousand vehicles registered in Gibraltar.
Thousands of these make use of our roads on daily basis, it added.
“In addition to this, some 7,000 vehicles cross the border every day.”
“Many of these are heavy goods vehicles, trailers and large trucks. These add to the wear and tear of our roads.”
The Government said it has invested over £8 million on local roads adding that this investment will continue.
“There was, for example, a major renovation of Rosia Road over the last few months from its junction with Scud Hill to New Mole House.”
The Government added: “It would be chaotic to improve all our roads at the same time, which is why this needs to be done in an organised and planned manner.”
“Therefore, the Opposition are as usual being unfair and opportunistic in their latest criticism when they know full well that this is a problem which has affected different Governments over the years.”