It is going to cost 200 million pesetas to merely clear the Balearics' roads of debris left in the wake of last week's storms, but to repair the region's damaged roads, over 1'000 million pesetas is needed. For years, a number of local institutions, public and private, as well as the Guardia Civil traffic police, have been complaining about the poor condition of the Balearics' roads and it was the region's road network which was the biggest victim of the two storms which battered the islands last week causing over £10 million worth of damage. From tarmac to traffic lights, very little escaped the wrath of the storm and the head of the Road Department, Joan Cifre, said yesterday that just clearing away the obstacles and repairing stone walls which run along the roads, is going to cost something in the region of 200 million pesetas. Work has already started on the road which runs along the coast between Alcudia and the Port of Pollensa. The road was the worst damaged in the Balearics and will cost at least 300 million pesetas to repair. A seven-and-a-half kilometre stretch was all but washed away by the sea and will have to be completely rebuilt. The Campos to sa Rapita road was also severely damaged, in some parts the road is down to just a single carriageway, the other has gone. The Deya to Soller road, which has only recently been completely improved and widened in parts, was also damaged with landslides spilling across the road in many parts and stone walls and trees being brought down all along the popular coastal road which was closed all over the weekend. Engineers are still not sure when the road will be fully opened to all traffic. 20 million pesetas worth of damage was caused to the roads in Ibiza and engineers are still adding up the costs in Minorca. Joan Cifre believes that it will take at least two months before the region's roads are back to normal. 16 teams of road engineers have already started work on the mammoth task under the orders of the Balearic government while the Insular Council of Minorca, which is responsible for the island's B roads, says that some 300 million pesetas of damage has been done. The Insular Council's director of roads, Gonzalo Aguiar, said yesterday that the Can Picafort to Muro road is in urgent need of attention. It was in a poor condition before the storms, now it is worse than ever, Aguier said. Spain's Environment Minister, who spent the weekend visiting all the disaster zones, said yesterday that the Ministry for the Environment and the government wants all the damage to be repaired by the start of next year's tourist season and work on damaged infrastructure will be starting immediately. Worst hit were the areas in the north east of Majorca, the coasts of Ibiza and Formentera, Valencia, Alicante and Castellón. Matas said that the worst storms in recent years caused catastrophic damage. Over the weekend, the central government drew up an emergency repair plan and Madrid has earmarked nearly 8'000 million pesetas to cover the costs of the first phase. All of the autonomous governments want to see the repairs carried out as quickly as possible. The Balearics, Catalonia, Valencia and Castellón are all highly dependent on tourism and it has been coastal resorts which have been worst hit.
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