THE issue of the demolition of the railway bridge in calle Gabriel Maura in Palma to make way for a major train tunnelling project, was discussed on five separate occasions by the city's Historic Centre Commission, the regional Minister for Public Works claimed yesterday. Mabel Cabrer insisted that the city architect had approved the scheme and that “there was no other way the dismantling of part of the bridge's structure and ornamental features, could be done”. Flanked by Palma's mayor, Catalina Cirer, the minister was speaking at the presentation of two new municipal transport buses to be added to the city's existing fleet. Cabrer emphasised the effort that had been made by local authorities to avoid the destruction of the architectural feature designed by Gaspar Bennassar that had been “loved by all people living in Palma”. She pointed out that not all of the bridge could be dismantled and reconstructed on another site because there was a section of it that was made out of concrete. The minister confirmed, however, that it was important for her department to “guarantee” its rebuilding “from all the original pieces we have been able to salvage”. The Historic Centre Commission have recommended specific steps for utilising the ornamental features which have been saved, while sections which have had to be destroyed should be “copied exactly” and used in the reconstruction of the bridge at its new location. Despite criticism from environmentalists, Cabrer signalled that the manner of demolition was authorised by the Commission at the time, although she admitted that a consultant architectural association had mooted that it was necessary to carry out a special study to know whether or not the bridge could be extended during its reconstruction. Mayor Cirer pointed out that the city architect had confirmed that the way the bridge had been demolished was within legal boundaries and within the limits of original plans. She added: “We can't keep changing the way we carry out a project on a daily basis because it would mean a great deal of extra work. We don't just wake up one morning with all the details in place. If someone doesn't come up with a proven better idea, then we will proceed as planned.”

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