Despite significant progress over recent weeks, more time will be needed to complete the Pernera roadworks, says the contractor.
The CNA (Cyprus News Agency) reports that a long on-site meeting took place on Thursday involving the Department of Public Works, the Mayor of Paralimni and the contractor. Several business owners also gathered outside the meeting to express their grievances regarding the delayed completion of the project.
The Director of the Department of Public Works said that they have not ruled out the involvement of crews from the Public Works Department in order to complete the project - subject to the constraints of the contract.
The project which began in the Spring of 2016 was expected to be completed within 18 months. It is being financed with an 80% contribution from the state and 20% from Paralimni Municipality.
In a statement by Chrystalla Malloupa, Director of the Department of Public Works, it stated that "we are in constant consultation with the contractor in order to find the best way and fastest way to complete the project."
Replying to a question about when it would finally be complete she added: "definitely before June – July will be much better. Hopefully it will go much better than it has until now." adding that "throughout the year we made efforts with the Mayor (Paralimni), while we had continuous meetings with the contractor to assist in the acceleration of the project."
Ms Malloupa noted that "the construction industry and property developers, after the economic crisis, are facing particular problems of liquidity and this may be one of the reasons that delayed the project."
She confirmed that the department will impose financial penalties on the contractor which amount to €3,600 per day for each day delayed.
When questioned about the work of this particular contractor Ms Malloupa replied negatively, adding that from previous experiences they were good contractors however on this project "we have enough problems".
The Mayor of Paralimni Theodoros Pyrillis said that "we are satisfied with what the Department of Public Works has done and that they continue to do everything they can to address the situation."
He added that "Unfortunately, the contractor will be able to hide maybe behind some small print. A year ago at a similar meeting I mentioned that his behaviour and the way they work will destroy the tourism industry of Protaras. He noted that "the efforts we have all made in recent years to enter the tourist season earlier has succeeded, this year we have begun the season by March 20th". However he added that "the efforts of all, all the money that has been spent by us, from CTO, from travel agents and many entrepreneurs unfortunately lost."
“He has been helped a lot by all of us to be able to cope but unfortunately, he has failed,” Pyrillis said.
To another question Pyrillis replied that "We regret that a contractor, a company at the end of the day, because it has failed to achieve its objectives, creates so much trouble in the locality."
Speaking on behalf of the contractor - GCC Ltd, Kyriacos Avraamides, said that "what should be crystal clear is that the contractual date of completion of the project was March 31st. Everything has been said that the delay is observed for 6 – 8 months does not correspond to the reality and there were several reasons given for time extensions."
Amongst other things, he explained that complaints from a hotel resulted in work stopping for several months noting that the delays were not only the fault of the contractor. "There were too many factors that influenced the completion date of the project, since with changes from the Town Hall (Paralimni) and changes of the planning decision for the final appearance of the road were taken in December 2017. That meant buying new materials, new orders, time for receipt of new materials."
He added that he does not claim to be infallible and flawless, but says that there were too many serious reasons which caused the delay.
Mr Avraamides said that "the company believes that with working even more closely with the Department of Public Works and other services the work can be completed within a month and the vital areas can be finished in about 20 days."
Asked to comment on complaints that workers are not seen in some areas he replied that "there were some fronts which should be promoted more and given importance." Adding that they are working on several areas at the same time and also: "it should be noted that half of the project has already delivered."
Once the project is complete a long cycling lane will have been created, new road lighting, wider pavements and other amenities for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers will also have been added.
Despite the remaining roadworks many businesses in the Pernera area have opened for the season and are operating normally.