Boats will be able to travel along the river between Vila Real de Santo António and Mértola thanks to the €6 million project.

“This is one of the most emblematic investments of the Ministry of the Sea,” because it “promotes the navigability of the Guadiana” and simultaneously “the development of the entire region,” said the Minister for the Seas, Ana Paula Vitorino.

The minister spoke to journalists after the signing of a contract for the dredging and installation of maritime signalling along the Guadiana river between Alcoutim and Pomarão.

The contract represents the third phase of the project and works are due to start “later this month”, and are to last three months said the minister.

As part of the project, the Directorate General of Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM) highlighted that two phases have already been completed, making it possible to make two Guadiana international zones navigable, the area between the entrance of the Vila Real of Santo António and the international bridge and the section between Vila Real de Santo António and Alcoutim in the Algarve.

During the ceremony, a protocol was also signed between DGRM and Câmara de Mértola to study and find the appropriate solution for the navigability of the exclusively Portuguese section between Pomarão and the town of Mértola.

According to the minister, the section between Pomarão and Mértola “is more complex” than the previous ones from geological and environmental points of view, being as it is “in a protected area of the Guadiana” and, therefore, the preparation of the project “will take a little more time “.

“Hopefully it will go well,” and once the environmental impact statement is issued,” the DGRM will launch the public tender to carry out the project” on the stretch between Pomarão and Mértola, said Ana Paula Vitorino.

“We are bringing the sea up to Mértola [in the interior of the Alentejo] and taking Mértola to the sea” concluded the minister.