Marsa Junction – Explained

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Traffic Committee

One of the objectives of the Traffic Committee, which meets regularly and is normally composed of representatives from the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure, the Police, Roads & Infrastructure Directorate, Traffic Management Unit and the Public Transport Unit all at Transport Malta, is to suggest and implement changes and initiatives aimed at improving traffic management around the Maltese Islands. Traffic flow issues at the Salib tal-Marsa roundabout were one of the items that the committee addressed recently. In fact the committee had instigated statistical surveys to analyse traffic flows at this junction.

Below are excerpts from reports submitted:

Delays

Site investigations were carried out and it resulted that vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro towards Valletta were experiencing delays due to the traffic congestion created at the foot of the uphill ramp joining the Marsa Bypass.

The results of the survey show that delays occurred during the morning and afternoon peak traffic period with the morning peak incurring more than double the delays of the afternoon period. It was also observed that the cause of the congestion at the foot of the uphill ramp was because vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro towards Marsa bypass would need to merge into one lane in a relatively short distance on a road with a sharp vertical and horizontal curve meeting the Marsa bypass on the inner lane. These vehicles would then need to move towards the outer lane to merge with free flow traffic proceeding from Triq Dicembru Tlettax meeting the Marsa bypass on the outer lane.

Traffic Counts

Traffic counts were carried out by Transport Malta for vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro towards Marsa Bypass and for vehicles proceeding from Triq Dicembru 13 towards Marsa Bypass.

The traffic counts clearly show that vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro are the major flow. Vehicles proceeding from Triq Dicembru Tlettax are the minor flow amounting to approximately 4% of the vehicles on the major flow.

Conclusions and Recommendations of the Traffic Committee

Given the above data, the Traffic Committee agreed to the following:
· Vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro are to have priority over vehicles proceeding from Triq Dicembru Tlettax
· Vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro are to meet the Marsa bypass on two-lanes to avoid the merge on the uphill ramp and the second merge on the bypass
· Vehicles proceeding from Triq Dicembru Tlettax are to GIVE WAY to vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro at the Marsa Bypass.

Post Implementation

Following the implementation of the measure, whereby vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro towards Marsa Bypass now could meet the bypass on two lanes without any necessary merges, the traffic congestion at the footway of the uphill ramp were resolved and no further delays were registered for vehicles proceeding from Triq Aldo Moro. Also, vehicles proceeding uphill on the ramp no longer needed to merge into one lane within a short distance on a steep vertical curve and a sharp horizontal curve thus reducing the potential safety hazard at the merge which was being imposed on a high volume traffic flow.

Following the implementation of the GIVE WAY arrangements above, Transport Malta received a number of complaints from the relatively low flow of vehicle drivers who were accustomed to having a free flow at considerable speed when proceeding from Triq Dicembru Tlettax towards Marsa Bypass. Transport Malta subsequently fine tuned the GIVE WAY arrangement by implementing a minor deflection at the GIVE WAY line to ensure that vehicles proceeding from Triq Dicembru Tlettax approach the Marsa Bypass at a reduced speed. Unfortunately, some vehicle drivers were ignoring the deflection and were proceeding towards the Marsa Bypass crossing over the hatching lines thus creating a hazard for vehicles properly positioned at the GIVE WAY line. As a result, traffic bollards were installed and monitored. The implementation of the bollards did not result in reduced speeds for approaching vehicles and were hence removed since they did not reach their intended scope. No complaints were received from vehicle drivers who proceed towards the Marsa Bypass from Triq Aldo Moro.