Even before there was talk of constructing a coastal path which, in a few years, will connect the 180 kilometres of coastline from Nerja to Manilva via a series of pedestrian paths in areas where at present there is no seafront promenade, Marbella had already taken a gigantic step in this direction with its ambitious project to join up its 27 kilometres of coast.
Now, when other municipalities are starting work on their respective projects – many of them with the help of the provincial government – 17 kilometres of the Marbella coastline are already connected, although there are still a few gaps. Seven years of works and an investment of more than ten million euros have transformed the image of the coastline and created a new tourist attraction in places where this was not already the case.
The promenade continues to stretch and the works are being carried out not only beside the sea but also on paper. The present council, which planned this project (which is being co-financed by the provincial government and the Qualifica Programme), estimates that with the new stretches which are being carried out at present, the aim of completely connecting the coastline in the municipality will be achieved within two years.
Although during the first phase the programme focused on the stretch between San Pedro Alcántara and Marbella, most of the works in recent months have been carried out in the second phase, extending towards the east. Two wooden bridges have been constructed, one to cross the Río Real and the other over the Arroyo 7 Revueltas.
Now, the work is under way to connect La Bajadilla with Reo Real; it will cost nearly three million euros and consists of four parts. The most advanced is the stretch between Arroyo II and Arroyo Pozuelo, to which the final touches are now being put.
This part of the project, which has cost about 949,000 euros, is almost complete. All that remains to be done is the stretch between Arroyo Pozuelo and Río Real Playa – covering more than 900 linear metres at a cost of nearly 759,000 euros and now in the contracting phase – and that of Río Real Playa, which due to be put to tender.
“This is a giant step forward. The council has been working on this project for years,” explains Javier García, the councillor for Works. On the stretch that extends towards Las Chapas, there are still two connection problems to be resolved. One is the remodelling of the area from Palm Beach to Los Monteros, and the other is the link between there and the walkway which has already been built over the Arroyo 7 Revueltas stream.
On the other side of the map of Marbella, on the stretch from San Pedro Alcántara to the town centre –this is the stretch of the greatest length with no obstacles – there have also been some gaps. The stretch between the Guadaiza river (on San Pedro seafront) and Ventura del Mar is still pending, and the work will probably be carried out by the Acosol water company.
From Guadalpín Banús to the beach at Río Verde there have been a series of changes to the existing seafront promenade, and three major sections: the construction of the 660-metre pedestrian path at Ventura del Mar-Guadalpín; the installation of a new 451-metre walkway at Ocean Club; and the macrobridge over the Río Verde.
Once these stretches are finished, there still remains what is today the greatest obstacle in the project to connect the entire coastline of Marbella: the breakwater at Coral Beach. A technical solution has been found for this, but before the works can be carried out agreement needs to be reached about compulsory purchase of land. “At present,” says Javier García, “we are continuing to work on resolving this matter,” but he admits that this will be the most difficult stretch to complete.
On the stretch in the Marbella direction, the plans to connect the coastline have involved some major works, such as the integral remodelling of the terraces of the Leisure Port to improve its appearance. The work, which was inaugurated in 2010, included laying 7,000 square metres of new paving.
Bit by bit, what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles such as the mouths of the rivers, have been transformed into pedestrian walkways, wooden bridges or paths made with albero. On the way there have been breakwaters, streams and private property which have kept the the legal services very busy, but many other matters have also been handled by other institutions such as the Andalusian Water Agency and the Coastal Authority.
The result is a total change of image for the seafront promenade of Marbella, which is now waiting to be connected to the neighbouring municipalities of Mijas and Estepona.
Courtesy: Sur in English
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