The habit of Cypriot drivers to park their cars on pavements have cost the taxpayer tens of millions of euros as paving stones crack and disintegrate under the weight of the cars.
It is not only the cars that are at fault however as the European Conformity (CE) standards although adopted in 2004 were only fully implemented in 2008.
The scale of the costs involved can be appreciated when it is estimated that Nicosia alone has approximately 2,000 kilometres of pavements.
It appears that there is not a single road in Cyprus (and especially those constructed prior to 2008) that do not have problematic pavements.
Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber Secretary and civil engineer Costas Allayiotis revealed that just until a few years ago, 3.5cm paving slabs were being used and therefore extremely sensitive to pressure.
A further problem explained Allayiotis was that the compacting of the substrate in many cases was not satisfactory resulting in the paving stones breaking under the pressure of cars being parked on them.
A further problem compounding the state of pavements is the installation of various services such as water and telephone lines were once removed are seldom replaced in a proper manner.
Yiannis Papadopoulos of the Contractors Association admits that the problems prior to 2004 were due to a lack of standards.
Papadopoulos attributes to the problems of the pavements equally to the quality of the paving stones and to their installation.
“Unfortunately since some people tend to use the pavements as parking spots, the added pressure on the paving stones ultimately leads to them breaking,” said Papadopoulos.
Comparing paving stones in England to the one used in Cyprus, Papadopouos pointed out that they were not only larger and thicker but they don’t break because pavements are not used as parking spots.
Papadopoulos pointed out that in Cyprus, state contracts demand the installation of 5 cm thick paving stones instead of 6 cm which is more durable while in private contracts, ever since the economic crisis, contractors use thinner and cheaper paving stones in an attempt to keep their tenders low.
He also said that contractors are buying paving stones from the north as they are €2.50 cheaper while adding that the paving stones outside parliament were purchased from the north.
Papadopoulos added that €2 million worth of imported paving stones will be used to upgrade, Makarios Avenue, Stasikratous and Mnasiadou Streets in Nicosia noting that they were more expensive than locally produced paving stones.