Business owners block El Centro traffic to protest tram construction delays

Oct 12, 2016 | 6 comments

Business and property owners angered by missed tranvía construction deadlines followed through Tuesday on a promise to disrupt traffic in Cuenca’s historic district. Traffic was backed up for blocks as protesters gathered outside the mayor’s office at the corner of Simon Bolivar and Borerro, chanting and banging pots.

Protesters outside the mayor's office on Tuesday.

Protesters outside the mayor’s office on Tuesday. (El Tiempo)

In addition to protesting missed deadlines, the owners are demanding to know why tram work has been suspended in most locations.

Following a weekend of meetings with the Spanish company managing construction, the city’s tram project director confirmed that work has stopped along most of the route. Romeo Moncayo said that the only work continuing is at the bridge over the Rio Tomebamba and at the depot off Av. Las Americas.

According to Moncayo and Mayor Marcelo Cabrera, negotiations between CITA, the public Basque company responsible for construction, and the city will continue. Issues in contention involve changes to the original tranvía plans made by the Cabrera administration after CITA had signed a contract with the previous administration of Mayor Paúl Granda. Cabrera claims that the changes have been paid for. If the issues cannot be resolved, the case will be arbitrated by the Attorney General’s office, leading to further delays.

Owners along the tram route say protests will continue. Their demand Tuesday for a meeting with the mayor was not obliged.

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