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Ponta Delgada ,  July 28, 2009

Toll-free roads preserve landscape integration

The construction of the toll-free roads on S. Miguel Island “was designed and is being carried out,” bearing in mind environmental concerns and the integration of the surrounding landscape. These statements were made by the Regional Secretary for Science, Technology and Infrastructures, who visited the section of the toll-free road to Nordeste, between Ribeirinha and the Santa Iria scenic overlook.
According to José Contente, the construction of “all of these sections has uncovered the vegetation, that is why everything is brown... but it will grow green again. The landscape integration is included in the works and will be carried out in accordance with what was established in the contract, because we have created an environmentally sustainable work.”
Moreover, the concern with the environment has always been a priority in these works, mainly through studies on their environmental impact, which according to the Regional Secretary, not only assess the existence of negative impacts for the environment, but also analyses social issues, such as the cost-benefits from the economic point of view.”
The Regional Secretary stressed that “having in mind this triple assessment, the Azorean Government has abandoned the solution to build a large viaduct in the last section of Nordeste. It was meaningless, as it would only serve to save less than five minutes in a work that would have a tremendous visual and environmental impact.”
During the visit, José Contente explained to journalists various issues which have been addressed by the press over the last days, particularly the episode that occurred in Vila Franca do Campo last week.
On this issue, the Regional Secretary mentioned that this “agreement or disagreement” is between the private entity, the construction company and the involved entities, underlining that the Regional Government does not have an active participation in these contractual relations.
“The Regional Government only has to ensure the fulfilment of the contract and move ahead with declarations of public utility when the construction company or the concessionary request them, and even these declarations are subject to a scrutiny that must assess the environmental issues, the collective interest and the nonexistence of other alternatives,” stated José Contente.
Asked about the deposit of inert waste, the Secretary for Science mentioned that from the four million cubic metres, there are only two millions to be deposited, and this solution is already under negotiation. “There will be no liabilities for agricultural land, because this is our concern, as we assure the good performance of the contract in order to avoid solutions that might have a negative environmental impact, therefore ensuring the landscape integration to reduce liabilities,” he added.
Furthermore, José Contente said that the concessionary is already negotiating a place located inside the island, a large land without agricultural purposes, to deposit the inert waste. This deposit will also remodel a part of the land that has been used for previous inert waste deposits. The remaining inert waste will be used for ground levelling in the construction itself.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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