The University of Malta has this morning started the first of a series of seismic investigations, commissioned by Transport Malta, in the channels between Malta and Gozo. The investigations are part of the studies commissioned to eventually determine the feasibility of a tunnel between Malta and Gozo. The investigations will help establish a geological model of the area that will guide the conceptual design of the proposed tunnel between the islands.
The vessel Midas Express is navigating back and forth, in the area indicated, towing a 300m long streamer behind it. Air compressors on board will release compressed air that will bounce off the seabed. Receptors along the streamer will register the change in pressure while instrumentation will record the data on board. Italian experts and University of Malta researchers will be monitoring the data as it is collected.
Transport Malta issued a Notice to Mariners asking the latter to navigate with caution within the area, give wide berth and observe a 1 kilometre restricted zone around the vessel. The Midas Express’ ability to
manoeuvre will be restricted. These seismic investigations are expected to be completed by the end of next week when the detailed planning will start on the next set of investigations.
The Midas Express is also in continual contact with the Gozo Channel ferries to avoid any disturbance to their service.
Transport Malta and University of Malta to work together on Sub-Sea Tunnel Project
Transport Malta has signed an agreement with the University of Malta for the latter to conduct geological and geophysical investigations in conjunction with the sub-sea tunnel between Malta and Gozo. The scientific investigations will include both desktop and field studies, passive seismic measurements, bathymetric mapping, and a seismic study.
The final results of these investigations will also incorporate the results from the recently published Investigative Coring tender. These results will in turn generate a Terrestrial Baseline study which will include geological, geomorphological and hydrogeological maps. It will also include a digital elevation model, cross-sectional profiles and hydrological models. The University of Malta will conduct a Marine Baseline study which will include a geological model of topography, stratigraphy, structure, geological, geophysical and tectonic properties of the study area.
Rector Prof Alfred Vella underlined the importance that the University uses its wide range of expertise to produce studies that can done be implemented for the benefit of society at large. The agreement attests to the strategy that the University plays a key role in projects of national importance such as the sub-sea tunnel between Malta and Gozo
Transport Malta’ Chairman, James Piscopo said that \’Transport Malta is very pleased to have the University of Malta on board for this exciting project. We look forward to collaborating together in enhancing and expanding our knowledge, whilst gaining unprecedented information that will critically help us in delivering a project that will be of social and economic benefit not only for Gozo but our Country as a whole\”
Apart from contributing extensively towards the studies on the feasibility of a Malta Gozo Tunnel, Transport Malta and the University of Malta are also confident that the collaboration will provide a broad range of knowledge and technology transfer opportunities for the two entities.
In response to Front Ħarsien ODŻ’s statement earlier today, Transport Malta needs to clarify the following.
The public tender is another major step towards having the necessary information for the eventual conceptual design of the tunnel. It is a prerequisite for any further steps. The studies will provide geological data which together with other inputs will serve as a baseline to develop the tunnel alignment and design. Transport Malta’s foreign consultants indicated the borehole alignment for the tender. They based their indications on studies and the information available to date.
The consultants, Sintef are a research institute based in Scandinavia with over 60 years of experience. Transport Malta commissioned the institute to provide technical expert and advisory services for the Malta-Gozo tunnel project. Sintef has extensive experience with more than thirty years of sub-sea tunnelling. They have also taken up advisory roles in various countries worldwide. Their tunnelling experience in Norway puts them in the forefront at providing advisory services for large infrastructural projects and will definitely be of benefit for the cost effectiveness of the project.
Transport Malta issued a public tender. We are inviting local scientists and/or foreign consortia to partner in this process so that the project can move forward.
Transport Malta has issued a tender to gather geological data on the sub-surface of the Malta-Gozo Channel. The winning contractor will conduct geotechnical investigations at various locations on land and in the channel, with drilling expected to reach approximately 200m below sea bed level in some areas. The extracted core samples will aid in establishing the geological formations of the area, which will eventually determine the feasibility of constructing a tunnel.
The investigations forming part of this tender are part of wider studies being commissioned in order to gather information on the sub-surface conditions of the proposed tunnel route between Malta and Gozo and ultimately establish a geological model of the area under investigation. The model will in turn form the basis for the Conceptual Design of the tunnel.
The Government of Malta has embarked on a long term strategy to address problems Gozitan commuters face everyday. Between the year 2000 and 2010, the number of vehicles crossing increased by 4.1% each year. In 2010 an average of 1,500 vehicles crossed each day in each direction. Last year, according to the NSO, a total of 1,348,502 vehicles made the crossing; reflecting an increase of 23% over the 2010 traffic.
The study is a major milestone in the process to eventually establish a fixed link between Malta and Gozo.