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Coastal road closed in move seen as historic

After years of efforts by local municipalities, the road between the coastal towns of Izola and Koper was closed for traffic on Monday to open kilometres of waterfront for pedestrians and cyclists.


Prime minister Miro Cerar and Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič spoke of a historic day for the Slovenian coast at the ceremony in Izola. The closing of the coastal road means "we got back 10% of the Slovenian coast," Gašperšič said, pointing to development opportunities for the area.


The "green oasis" between Izola and Koper will pave the way for sustainable use of the coastal and maritime area and for the development of tourism, he said.


The prime minister said he was happy to have participated in the "historic event", which was an example of good cooperation between the government and local communities. He said he was particularly glad that the road was closed before the start of the tourist season. "It is proof that we are serious about green Slovenia."


As of today, the segment of the waterfront that was previously used by pedestrians and cyclists will be intended exclusively for pedestrians, while the two lanes of the road will be turned into a cycling path and a lane for emergency vehicles. In addition to cyclists, riders of motorcycles with the maximum permissible speed of 25 km/h will also be allowed to use the cycling lane.


Cars and buses will be directed to the parallel expressway.


Environmentalists have meanwhile warned that the development of the waterfront has to be carried out with due care for the existing habitat types and the marine ecosystem.