Atlantic Front increasingly united in common strategic projects

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Filipa Brito

The tradition continues and last Thursday, at Casa do Roseiral, the mayors of the Atlantic Front meet for the Christmas lunch, offered by the mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, to his counterparts from Vila Nova de Gaia, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, and Luísa Salgueiro from Matosinhos.

“There has been a fruitful collaboration between the three cities”, acknowledges Rui Moreira, namely in cultural and sports projects, to which, this year, external affirmation was added, through the recently created Greater Porto, which was already present at Expo Real, in Munich (Germany) and, next year, at MIPIM, in Cannes (França).

Tourism is also, in the understanding of the mayors of the Atlantic Front, a sector that “cannot be looked at as a segmented and generalist area, but with a certain expertise as a way to attract the kind of tourist we want”.

In cultural terms, the three cities renewed, for another three years, the joint organization of DDD – Festival Dias da Dança. “The articulation in the area of culture, has been very positive”, reinforced the Porto mayor, revealing that the joint projects at Casa da Arquitetura and Bienal de Design will also continue.

Bridges must be aligned

Regarding mobility, namely the tender for the design and construction of the D. António Francisco dos Santos Road bridge, Rui Moreira revealed that the jury received submissions. “Right now, [the jury] is evaluating them. After that, the mayors of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia will look at the jury’s report and determine what will be the future of the bridge”, underlined the Porto mayor, recognizing that “it will be necessary to be aligned with the high-speed crossing”.

“It is still not a political decision, but a technical one. There is a public tender, and a jury which must evaluate the submissions. At this time, we cannot overlap an independent jury, which will have to rule on them in the first days of January”, he added.

The future high-speed bridge presents a new factor, which “will weigh on the decisions made”, according to Rui Moreira, for whom “the two crossings must be aligned”, as the government and Infraestruturas de Portugal also defend.

“We launched a tender, we have resources to build the bridge [D. António Francisco dos Santos], noting with pleasure, that Infraestruturas de Portugal has already said that, if necessary, has the possibility of making the two crossings aligned: one, at the lower level, by road, and the other, at the higher level, for the high-speed”, he said.

“We have a very active citizenship”, assures Rui Moreira

Rui Moreira also commented on another bridge, the subway bridge for the Ruby Line, to ensure that, “from the moment we realized that the insertion of the bridge in the urban area of both cities [Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia] involved the architects Siza Vieira and Souto Moura, Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade do Porto (FAUP) is already reassured, it seems that a project that initially raised a lot of resistance is being improved”.

“Fortunately, in Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia and Matosinhos all projects are discussed. It is the exceptional quality of this region. We have a highly active citizenship. It is normal to seek to improve the projects”, he pointed out, adding that, regarding the current works, Metro presented a timeframe where it assures that the works on the Pink Line will be concluded by the end of 2024 and the commercial operation will begin in 2025.

Regarding the upgrading of Estrada da Circunvalação, the mayor of Porto recalled that “there was an agreement between the four cities [Porto, Matosinhos, Gondomar and Maia] and today we know what we want. The cities, at least Porto, are not available to receive its management without a check that covers, at least, part of the transformation of Circunvalação”, he said, concluding: “the master plan of Circunvalação is done, endorsed by the four cities, seen by the Área Metropolitana. The matter is still”.