Parts of the Maó harbour in Minorca were closed off yesterday amidst fears that areas of the cliffs, which encircle part of the port and support part of the town may collapse. Mahon council announced that certain areas will be closed off to pedestrians and residential traffic while the roads which run along the foot of cliffs will also be closed. The council made the decision on the advice of a structural engineering company which has been studying the cliff structure for the past few months. A number of meetings have been held with the local police and the port authority to discuss the problem and the risks posed. Over the past three years, parts of the cliff face have been damaged and a number of landslides have damaged properties along the cliff top and down below. The access closures are expected to remain in place for quite some time while repair work is carried out. But architects and engineers are going to be inspecting the foundations and structure of properties along the cliff top to make sure that no further damage has been caused. The main cause for concern was the shift of some 100 tons of rock during last November's storms which damaged apartment blocks in the area and forced the police to evacuate a restaurant, which is still abandoned. The council will be drawing up alternative traffic routes for residents.

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