The Palma city council plans to open the underground car parks in the Via Roma, Ausias March and Plaza de Santa Catalina before March 2003 and to start work on three others in Palma, providing 1'200 new parking spaces, and one in Arenal, with 278 places. This was announced yesterday after a meeting of the administration board of the Sociedad Municipal de Aparcamientos (Municipal Parking Society) by deputy Mayor José María Rodríguez. He said that work currently in progress would be completed between December this year and March next year. He added that pillars will be put into place in a part of the Santa Catalina area and stressed that the Via Roma car park would respect the stretches of Islamic walls discovered at the site four months ago. Work in the Calle Ausias March has been disrupting traffic in the area since April and Rodríguez said that traffic would once again run smoothly from September 15. The four new car parks will be in Calle Manacor (542 places), Antoni Maura (500 places), the Plaza de San Cosme i San Damia in Son Cotoner (150 places) and the Plaza d'es Nins in the Playa de Palma (278 places). Rodríguez explained that the municipal licences will be requested shortly. The deputy Mayor went on to say that work on the car park planned for Calle Constitución, by the Post Office, has been interrupted by the need for archaeological explorations which started six months ago. It will be up to the Council of Majorca's heritage board to decide whether or not work can proceed and their decision is expected next month. Rodríguez expressed his surprise that the excavations should still be going on “after six months in which no archaeological remains have been found,” adding that a surface of 2'000 square metres had been excavated at a depth of three metres.He added that the Palma city council had never come up against so many difficulties for a job. He said that the council would make one last effort to get the heritage board to speak out, to prevent further inconvenience to shops and residents in the area. The cost of work carried out so far is 38 million pesetas. The United Left-Greens are opposed to the car parks and Rodriguez said that they were always against them because “it seems that they always go by bike and we go in cars.”

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