Government has plan to save lives on the roads, but does not have the money

The Balearic government needs an estimated 10'500 million pesetas to upgrade Majorca's roads while at the same time trying to improve road safety and reduce the number of accidents, 14 of which have already proved fatal on the island since the start of the year. However, for this present term in government, the local authorities do not have enough money to repair all the deficiencies in the road network, but the study which has recently been completed by the roads department will serve as a benchmark when the next budgets come around. The bulk of the money is needed to cover the cost of resurfacing 1'115 kilometres of road, which is nearly all of the government controlled roads, covering an area of 1'430 kilometres. This year, the Manacor to Felanitx and Felanitx to Portocolom stretches of road will be resurfaced at a cost of over 300 million pesetas and the report has drawn up a list of ten other roads which need priority attention. The Guardia Civil traffic department has for years been saying that one of the main causes of the island's high accident rate is the poor condition of the road network. The study has confirmed that while the crumbling roads are not a primary accident cause, their condition does not help. Hence, when drawing up the new road plan, safety and security have been a paramount concern. The government hopes that while improving roads, it can simultaneously reduce the accident toll. A “security and transport management” white paper has been drawn up and it concludes that Balearic traffic needs to be “calmed”. A new set of traffic regulations are to be introduced with new speed limits on certain roads, with the main A roads being transformed into fast roads, where all traffic can flow freely without potential dangers, and the construction of no more bicycle lanes. The main aim is to reduce the death toll. Hire cars could be forced to obey new speed restrictions, tougher and more widespread radar and speed controls are to be introduced and fast roads will be remodelled to create a “calmer” traffic environment in Majorca. The campaign to promote the use of public transport will also be stepped up, with the aim of trying to tempt more people into leaving their car at home. Yesterday, for example, within the space on one hour, travelling to an out of town hyper market and back to the city centre, I witnessed three accidents - two of which appeared to be caused by speeding.

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