Cuenca transportation officials say they expect to receive a report from the International Council on Monuments and Historic Sites (ICOMOS) within a week that may include recommendations for tram construction through the historic district. ICOMOS, which works closely with UNESCO, visited Cuenca in August at the request of Mayor Marcelo Cabrera who said he was concerned about the impact of the tram on historic buildings.
City Transportation director Gerard Fernandez says he wants to see the report before beginning tram work in the central area of historic district. Although he said that the routes on Calles Gran Colombia, Mariscal La Mar and Sangurima will not change, the report may include recommendations that could affect construction in the area as well as tram operation.
“Following the recommend- ations in the report is not mandatory but they might help guide us during the construction process,” Fernandez said. He added that the report may also make suggestions about maintaining the area’s historic character.
Meanwhile, work continues on the tram route on Avs. Las Americas and España. The transportation office said that tram construction will require the acquistion of one to two meters of 84 properties on Av. España in the Michichig neighborhood. It is the only part of the tram route that will require property condemnation.
The extra space is needed, according to Fernandez, to maintain the current two lanes of traffic in both directions. He said the taking of property will mostly affect driveways and not buildings.