The council “came to speak to us, but it did not clarify our questions,” said Marta Rogado of the ‘Tavira Sempre’ movement to Lusa, saying that the group will do “everything in its power” to stop the work and use “all means possible” to prevent it.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Tavira municipality revealed that the progress of the project that aims to replace the old military bridge was reported on the council website, social networks and media in March 2016, revealing the bridge to be “a concrete structure, based on two pillars”.

The statement continued to explain that the design of the new bridge corresponds to “a contemporary reinterpretation of the formal buildings existing on the site” and that the infrastructure is characterised by “simplicity, lightness and quality of finishes”.

The movement counters the statement by highlighting that it said nothing about “the little importance the city council has given to the historic city centre and the population” from the moment it launched the specifications and why it created “another road bridge” after construction.

At the heart of the protests from the movement lies the fact that they believe that the bridge is not only aesthetically unsuitable for the historic city but that it focuses on promoting traffic back to the centre and contradicts the slow city concept of Tavira.

“The whole process was done by default, building a 10-metre bridge much wider than the current one,” said Marta Rogado who also admitted that the movement was late in their protests against the bridge as the population only “awakened to the situation” when the sidings were placed. “There is still time to stop, because nothing has been done there yet,” says Marta Rogado.

The movement would like the city council to have a good sense and “suspend” the work, opening the debate to the population, with a session to clarify the questions posed about “mobility studies, environmental impact and architectural integration” and to take a decision “together”, but this, the spokeswoman concludes, would be “in an ideal world”.

The new bridge project is intended to replace the current provisional bridge, built following the 1989 floods, and to remedy the damage caused to the old bridge over the Gilão River, which was active for 30 years but was closed to motor traffic for safety reasons.