Mayor of Mogán, Onalia Bueno, has visited the site of the rockfall that injured two people on Tuesday morning 11 July, together with technicians and the general director of Public Works for the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, José Francisco Duque Morán, they assessed the stretch of road at km 44 of the GC-500 coastal highway, which connects the towns of Taurito and Playa de Mogán, and where in the early hours of the morning a major rockfall occurred without warning causing the road to be blocked off to traffic.
Now some tour operators fear that this popular coastal route could be shut off for months to come.
Cabildo Highways staff proceeded to close the section after the landslide, during which a woman suffered mild traumatic head injury, and a minor received moderate leg trauma. Technicians specialising in stability of slopes from the Cabildo of Gran Canaria went to the scene to assess if there is any further risk before the cleaning and repair of the road begins.
There, José Francisco Duque Morán, director general of Public Works of the Cabildo, indicated that “first of all we must assess the slope, clean it up and remove all the rock that might still fall. Once done, ensuring the slope is safe, we can remove material, to discover the damage to the surface and give an estimate of when the road will reopen. We will do everything in our power to make it as soon as possible.”
Caution for recreational boats
Onalia Bueno has said that “as a precautionary measure, from the Mogán Department of Security, it has been communicated directly, through the Red Cross, and will be announced in an official statement on paper, warning recreational boats that are in the area that they should not approach the sea caves to ensure safety for as long as the road is closed.”
The mayor said that “visits to the caves are an attractive and obligatory stop for tourists, who access them with canoes, jet skis, zodiacs or other small vessels. So the closure of the road will affect tourism in the area, but the main thing is to ensure safety. ”
Bueno took advantage of the situation to point out that more needed to have been done to secure access to this area recalling that “in 2012, one year before the conclusion of the construction of the GC-1 highway, the need to incorporate two branches of slip-roads onto the highway, giving access to Taurito was highlighted, only one of which was built, connecting the GC-1 with Taurito. At that time, it was said that, due to security measures, the second branch could not be created – that would connect Playa de Mogán with Taurito – as requested by the residents of the zone. Given the refusal for this branch, a connection was proposed through a tunnel towards Playa de Mogán from Taurito, which was not done either and we are going to put it back on the table. ”
As things currently stand the only access from the main GC1 motorway to Taurito is from the direction of Puerto Rico, and the only exit from Taurito to the GC1 is in the direction of Puerto Rico. This means anyone who wants to travel from Taurito to Puerto de Mogán or the west of the island, or vice versa, must now go via the Puerto Rico exit. An extra 15 minute round trip.
The mayor added that “Taurito needs a secure link, since it houses a tourist enclave, which daily has large amounts of traffic, both workers and Global Guaguas (public buses) and tourists”
The mayor went on to lament that “in two decades two people have died on this road which is a strategic route on which all security measures must be guaranteed. ”
The mayor concluded by pointing out that the island government should have done more already to ensure safety along this route adding that “today the staff of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria are at the location analysing the situation, but they had to have taken note from the Government of the Canary Islands at the time, when safety demands were made due to the state of insecurity and the risk” this presented.
“When this was exposed, no one took note and from those consequences, come these results,” said Bueno.
! ️ UPDATE GC-500! ️
The Department for Roads conservation (Carreteras de Gran Canaria) in the southern zone proceeded to close the stretch of road affected and has been ordered to inspect the site, sending specialised personnel in the area of slope stability to assess whether there are any further risks prior to the cleaning and repair of the roadway.
Detachment does not affect any housing or resorts, who just have to turn onto the GC-1 motorway.
The Cabildo of Gran Canaria has recommended using the GC-1 as an alternative during the closure of the GC-500.