The arch welcomes drivers to Marbella. :: J-L
It was presented as the solid emblem of the new Marbella that was promised by Jesús Gil, but its interior structure is as degraded as the moral conscience of its mentor. The Marbella arch survived eight years of ‘Operation Malaya’, but its future is now in question.
A report ordered by the council about the state of the construction after bits had repeatedly fallen off has revealed problems in the interior of the arch, whose metal skeleton is showing signs of advanced rusting. After more than two decades during which water has been leaking through the simulated stone that covers the whole structure, the deterioration is highly advanced and is putting at risk the survival of what for many years has been one of the emblems of the town.
At a meeting this week, the council was informed of the content of the report and it then ordered that nets be installed as a matter of urgency to stop more pieces falling off and endangering traffic and pedestrians. “Safety is our priority,” stressed the councillor for Public Works, Javier García, who confirmed that the works would begin immediately. The nets will cover the four pillars which sustain the arch, as that is where the pieces have been falling from, and also the letters spelling out the name of the town.
But a second decision is required, one that will need another report and will affect the future of the arch. At present the engineers do not know whether it will be viable to restore the arch, either technically or financially, which is why the decision will have to await the results of this second survey. “We have to see if there is a solution,” explained Javier García.
The council officials who spoke to the press after the meeting - municipal spokesman Félix Romero, and Javier García - were reluctant to give any idea of how the local authority will deal with the future of the arch, because this will be a strictly technical decision which cannot be made until it is known whether the arch can be restored and how much this would cost. Plus, of course, the cost involved if demolition were necessary.
Meanwhile the Plan Marbella Centro, a scheme with which the Town Hall plans to improve the image of the Ricardo Soriano area, continues to make progress.
The project has now moved to the Acera de la Marina and Padre José Vera areas. The former street is to be pedestrianised and the latter remodelled, while access roads to the port are to be improved. The contract for this phase of the scheme has just been put out to tender for 488,151 euros. The work will be financed by the Qualifica Consortium (70 per cent) and the Town Hall and should take five months to complete.