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The Cyprus Mail reported recently that Limassol city centre is about to undergo its biggest-ever transformation. The city centre will have a complete revamp, as well as a massive overhaul of its road system.

One of the stated aims of the project is to ease traffic congestion – already a big problem in Limassol and one which will only get worse as the city’s technical university, TEPAK, continues to grow. Limassol councillor, Tassos Tsaparellas, told the Sunday Mail that the project was of vital importance to the city’s future and will combine all of its best elements – history, culture, architecture and tourism. He added that the new project will complement the transformation of Limassol’s old port and the area around the medieval castle will form a natural connection from the seafront to the rest of the town.

It’s hoped that construction work will start early next year and be completed within three years. Tenders for the construction work have already been initiated and contracts are expected to be signed by October. The project will cost a total of €44 million, with €26 million being spent on the old town centre upgrade and €18 million on the seafront. The project aims to upgrade both areas while still maintaining local character.

Construction work will undoubtedly cause considerable inconvenience to those living and working in the area. To minimise problems, the area will be divided into two ‘construction sites’ worked on by two different companies and contractors will be expected to co-ordinate their work to reduce congestion and keep inconvenience to a minimum. The first section covers the medieval castle area to the west of Irinis and Koumandarias Streets, while the second spans from the town hall building to Anexartisias Street.

The position and growth of TEPAK is also central to the plan as Limassol will be home to a large student community. The project aims to upgrade and develop new central squares, discourage the use of cars and encourage walking and cycling.

The most dramatic part of the project are the planned four new squares, which will be created in the medieval castle area, Saripolou Street, University Square near the town hall and the B’ Municipal Market Square. The surrounding streets will be pedestrianised, the square will be cemented over and the canopies of surrounding cafes removed to offer visitors a clear view of the castle.

The plans for the seafront area will include a multi-functional seaside park at the site of the current sea reclamation area. The area will have additional services for visitors, including cafes, bicycle lanes, pedestrian walks and a small theatre for cultural events. In addition, more parking spaces and benches will be created along the seafront strip. Last but not least, Limassol’s public transport network will be significantly improved and walking will be encouraged by the creation of wider pavements and tile-paved areas.

Councillor Tsaparellas said that they had made the decision to undertake the project because they wanted to ensure that the contemporary demands of citizens were fully met and at the same time preserve the area’s unique history, culture and architecture.

Author: Anne Hall

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