Tests con­firm Marsa-Ham­run by­pass bridge is struc­turally safe – min­is­ter

● €17 mil­lion spent on road in­fras­truc­ture projects

Malta Independent - - News -

Test carried out on the MarsaHam­run by­pass bridge have con­firmed that the struc­ture is safe and re­quired only sur­face works, Trans­port Min­is­ter Ian Borg said yes­ter­day.

Con­cerns about the bridge were raised af­ter the Genoa bridge col­lapse ear­lier this year. The Marsa fly­over was also show­ing con­cern­ing signs of wear and tear, with the metal re­bar be­com­ing vis­i­ble in cer­tain ar­eas of the col­umns.

Borg said that mem­brane had been laid over the bridge to pro­tect it from seep­ing rain­wa­ter.

In­fras­truc­ture Malta CEO Fredrick Az­zopardi said core sam­ples from dif­fer­ent parts of the struc­ture had con­firmed that the struc­ture, which was built in the 1970s, was safe.

Mean­while, Borg pre­sented de­tails on the €17 mil­lion in­vest­ment that was im­ple­mented on road in­fras­truc­ture dur­ing the sum­mer months.

He ex­plained that as a re­sult of an in­vest­ment of just over €17 mil­lion in road up­grades in sum­mer 2018, by Septem­ber 2018 the coun­try had al­ready ben­e­fit­ted from 17.4 kilo­me­tres of new or re­built lanes and 18 up­graded junc­tions with added road safety mea­sures, re­duced travel times and im­proved air qual­ity in nearby res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

Borg ex­plained that a sub­stan­tial share of this in­vest­ment was di­rected at im­prov­ing the main gate­way to the south­ern part of Malta, with three projects tar­get­ing the ar­te­rial road cor­ri­dor be­tween the Santa Ven­era tun­nels and Triq Aldo Moro in Marsa. Two of these projects, the re­build­ing of Triq Aldo Moro as part of the sec­ond phase of the Marsa Junc­tion Project and the widen­ing of the Marsa-Ħam­run By­pass, started be­fore sum­mer and were sched­uled to be com­pleted later this year and next year re­spec­tively. The third one, in­clud­ing the up­grad­ing of the stretch of ar­te­rial roads link­ing the Marsa-Ħam­run By­pass to Triq Diċem­bru 13 and Triq Aldo Moro, was launched in the begin­ning of sum­mer.

“With the pace that was kept to de­liver these projects, work­ing day and night dur­ing cer­tain pe­ri­ods, In­fras­truc­ture Malta was able to fi­nalise a sub­stan­tial num­ber of projects,” noted Min­is­ter Borg.

The six lanes of the Marsa-Ħam­run By­pass, which were opened to road users by the end of sum­mer, are re­duc­ing travel times along this route by up to 42%. The last three of the 10 lanes in Triq Aldo Moro will be com­pleted in the com­ing weeks, be­fore In­fras­truc­ture Malta starts the build­ing of the Marsa Junc­tion Project’s seven fly­overs to elim­i­nate the Ad­do­lorata Ceme­tery traf­fic lights and con­tinue re­duc­ing travel times and con­ges­tion pol­lu­tion in this crit­i­cal node.

Dur­ing sum­mer, In­fras­truc­ture Malta also up­graded the two main round­abouts at Żeb­buġ. These junc­tions were re­con­structed with a new de­sign to re­duce travel times, im­prove ac­cess to this lo­cal­ity’s res­i­dents and in­crease road safety. The Mosta Technopark round­about was also mod­i­fied to im­prove the by­pass lane fa­cil­i­tat­ing jour­neys from Lija to Mosta, and to re­lo­cate an ex­ist­ing pedes­trian cross­ing to a safer lo­ca­tion. Mean­while, at T’Alla u Ommu Hill, a bot­tle­neck which had been slow­ing down road users trav­el­ling from Bur­mar­rad to Bir­guma, Naxxar and Mosta for years, was elim­i­nated with the con­struc­tion of a sec­ond south­bound lane.

At Triq tal-Bar­rani, the agency also im­proved the ef­fi­ciency of the sig­nal-con­trolled T-junc­tion link­ing it to Triq Ħal Tarx­ien, towards Gudja and Għaxaq, by adding a new by­pass lane and op­ti­mis­ing traf­fic light op­er­a­tion. Through an­other project, road users trav­el­ling from Ta’ Qali towards Ra­bat or Żeb­buġ can now use a new, safer exit from a re­built road at the Tal-Ħem­sija area, rather than cross­ing on­com­ing traf­fic at the Md­ina Road junc­tion.

An­other ma­jor im­prove­ment in the south­ern part of Malta is the in­tro­duc­tion of a third lane and a new cy­cle lane in the north­bound car­riage­way of Vjal l-Av­jaz­zjoni, be­tween Gudja and Luqa.

The new lane links up with the Air­port round­about by­pass lane built last year, al­low­ing road users to travel from the Kirkop tun­nels towards Luqa with­out cross­ing the round­about or merg­ing into other lanes.

This im­prove­ment has led to a 73.3% travel time im­prove­ment for thou­sands of road users trav­el­ling from Safi, Kirkop, Mqabba, Qrendi and Żur­rieq through the Kirkop tun­nels, towards Luqa, Qormi and Val­letta, ev­ery morn­ing.

Min­is­ter Borg said, “The work does not stop here how­ever. As these projects are con­cluded, work on other projects in dif­fer­ent lo­cal­i­ties is pro­ceed­ing. These in­clude the widen­ing of Triq talBalal be­tween Naxxar and San Ġwann and the re­con­struc­tion of Triq Bormla (Taċ-Ċawsli) link­ing Żab­bar and Że­j­tun, and the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of plans for other im­por­tant projects start­ing in the com­ing months, in­clud­ing the re­build­ing of Triq Ħal Luqa be­tween Gudja and Santa Luċija, the up­grad­ing of Triq Ħal Qormi be­tween Luqa and Qormi, the widen­ing of Triq ta’ Buqana be­tween Mtarfa and Mosta, the con­struc­tion of two new tun­nels be­neath the Santa Luċija round­about and the Cen­tral Link Project, ex­tend­ing from the Mrieħel By­pass, through Birkirkara, Balzan and At­tard towards Ta’ Qali. The agency is also fi­nal­is­ing pro­pos­als for the up­grad­ing of Triq Sant An­drija be­tween Swieqi, Pem­broke and Paceville and of sev­eral junc­tions along this road.

“Nei­ther must we for­get the first batch of 120 res­i­den­tial roads that were an­nounced ear­lier this month. There was never any doubt that we would be liv­ing up to the €700 mil­lion com­mit­ment to im­prove the qual­ity of res­i­den­tial roads in all lo­cal­i­ties in the com­ing years and in fact the first works as part of this un­prece­dented road re­build­ing in­vest­ment will start in Jan­uary 2019,” noted Min­is­ter Borg.

Amar­illi Nizza will be play­ing Tosca to a full house, along­side Ste­fano La Colla as Cavara­dossi and Lu­cio Gallo (in pic­ture) as Scarpia. They head the cast of the new pro­duc­tion of the Aurora Opera House in Gozo, due tonight, di­rected by Vivien He­witt, con­ducted by Colin At­tard, with cos­tumes by Luke Az­zopardi and sets by An­drew Borg Wirth, the lat­ter two made pos­si­ble by camil­leri­paris­mode. Photo: Chris­tine Joan Mus­cat-Az­zopardi

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