No easy answer to capital construction sites, says mayor
(CS/ml) Following criticism from the CSV, Luxembourg City mayor Lydie Polfer has admitted that construction sites in the capital were difficult to manage but added that there is no perfect solution to the issue.
The CSV during a press conference on Monday had said that the capital was at risk of suffocating because of all the construction site dust. The party criticised that construction sites were insufficiently coordinated, creating noise pollution, hindering traffic and ruining views of the City.
Mayor Polfer fired back on Tuesday, offering some insight into the situation.
She explained that 22 percent of construction sites were managed by the City's coordination service, which only handles works carried out by the communes.
The rest of construction lies outside the remit of the capital's authorities. Around a fifth is being carried out by energy provider Creos. Another 20 percent are organised by the roads administration, the “Fonds du Kirchberg”, the “Fonds de la Vieille Ville” and CFL.
Significant effort goes into coordinating construction sites, Polfer added, saying, however, that it is unavoidable to carry out works at several places simultaneously.
At the start of the year there were around 60 construction sites in the capital.
No easy answer
The mayor also explained that shift work, as it is used in cities elsewhere to ensure that construction continues around the clock, is generally avoided. On the one hand it represents an increase in expenses, Polfer explained. More importantly, this manner of working would affect local residents even more.
Only in exceptional cases, such as upcoming canal works between Rue de Hollerich and Rue Joseph Junck, is this method used to limit the impact of construction, Polfer said.
Another obstacle is the annual leave of construction site workers, which sees construction sites lie vacant for several weeks. Even for large-scale projects, such as the Royal Hamilius, it is difficult to obtain an exemption, Polfer explained.
“Believe me, if there was an easy answer to the existing problems we would have implemented it long ago,” the mayor added, saying she would put the issue at the top of the agenda when the council is back in session after the summer break in September.
There is room for improvement, Polfer admitted, such as providing better communication to residents but also visitors.
Already, buses are free on weekends to encourage people to use public transport and avoid construction-related traffic issues. Additional offers are planned, such as a bus shuttle between Kirchberg and the City centre for the annual “braderie” sale.
Polfer meanwhile objected to the CSV's suggestion to make parking free in the capital on weekends, saying this would not alleviate the problem. “Not even retailers are requesting such a measure.”