The archway that greets travelers exiting the airport will be spruced up. Photo: Handout

Mérida, Yucatán — The arch that is the city’s first impression on many travelers is getting a much-needed restoration.

The city will carry out maintenance work on the airport’s arch, a modest pale-yellow structure that has seen better days.

The international airport may be modern and slick, but the arch, which straddles the access road leading to the city street, is showing signs of deterioration, said Aref Miguel Karam Espósitos, who leads the city’s Directorate of Urban Development.

The word “Bienvenidos” has long been bleached by the sun, and a cement patch appears to be crudely covering up a damaged wall. The mayor, Mauricio Vila Dosal, said that the arch has not been renovated for years.

The entire arch will be resurfaced with fresh Durock cement and its simulated stone tiles, which are about 80 by 60 centimeters, will be removed and re-fitted, before the entire thing is repainted. The arch will also be rewired and given new lighting. Cornice moldings, which are made of fiberglass, will be replaced.

A budget of 350,000 pesos has been approved to restore the arch, and works should be done by the end of January or the beginning of February.

The project seems pretty straightforward except for its location. Workers have to work in traffic, which won’t be rerouted. Scaffolding and signage will engulf the landmark during the process.

The arch, built sometime in the 20th century, is not considered part of the historical heritage of the city, so preservationists from INAH will not intervene, said Karam.

The project follows work in 2016 at three Centro arches that are very much a part of the city’s heritage: Dragones, Puente and San Juan.

Source: Press release