The Marsa-Ħamrun bypass project begins

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg called a press conference as the end of last week saw the commencement of work towards the widening of the Marsa-Ħamrun bypass, the main road which joins several principal nodes of the country’s road network.

The design of this project started during last summer, when a solution for the existing difficulties in this road, which are causing delays during the journeys of thousands of people every day, started being studied. The call for offers for the necessary work was issued in August and preparations for widening works began upon awarding of the contract.

The Minister explained how, upon exiting the Santa Venera tunnels in the direction of Marsa, the two lanes of the carriageway converge into one. This difficulty creates an obstacle for those who pass through this road, with more delays and a higher risk of accidents. This obstacle is negatively affecting the route from Attard to Qormi through the Mrieħel bypass, which joins the Marsa-Ħamrun bypass at this part of the road as well. The opposite direction suffers similar difficulties causing delays in the lane which joins Qormi Road to the Marsa-Ħamrun bypass.

He said that through this project of around €5 million, the Marsa-Ħamrun bypass will be re-designed to add two new lanes; one in each direction. This will reduce most of these difficulties as well as the risk of accidents. Thanks to the new lanes, those who exit the Santa Venera tunnel and those who approach from the Mrieħel bypass bridge will have dedicated lanes, without the need of the two lanes converging into one. The opposite direction will see an additional lane to mitigate existing difficulties in the connection with Qormi Road, as well as for those who are travelling from Marsa towards the Santa Venera tunnels and Mrieħel.

Minister Borg explained how, as part of this investment, the Roads and Infrastructure Directorate of Transport Malta is also collaborating with other entities so that pipes and cables carrying water, drainage, electrical and telecommunication services which pass beneath the road, are modernized before implementing new asphalt.

He said that the project is being implemented in several phases to limit inconvenience caused to drivers. Some work will be carried out during the night to reduce inconveniences for users of the road.

The Minister said that this project is expected to be complete in 13 months’ time. He also said that EU Funds have been requested for this project to be implemented.

He reminded those present that the widening and rebuilding of the Marsa-Ħamrun bypass is one of a number of investments initiated by the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects as of summer 2017 towards continuing to increase efficiency in our country’s roads. This plan includes large-scale capital projects, such as the widening of this bypass, a solution for difficulties in the road between Mrieħel, Attard and Rabat, the Marsa Junction Project, the building of new tunnels beneath the Santa Luċija roundabout, and the widening of Buqana Road between Rabat and Mosta.

The Minister said that large-scale projects are not the only important ones; it is essential for the work of the Ministry to also include projects on a smaller scale but which leave such positive effects on our roads. These works include those on several main roundabouts and junctions which presented obstacles which were creating delays and causing air pollution in their area, such as the improvement of the roundabout at Lija, the main road between Lija and Mosta, the two main junctions at the Qormi roundabout, the roundabout near the Malta International Airport in Gudja, and the one a few metres away in Luqa.

He reminded those present of the current ongoing improvement works in Independence Avenue in Mosta and the Luqa roundabout near the St Vincent de Paule residence, among other works.

Minister Borg concluded by saying that these works help to mitigate difficulties on Maltese roads through different means. At the same time, he reiterated the commitment of the Government, which continues with the work towards developing long-term solutions, including alternative means of transport which are more efficient and have less negative impacts on the environment, and which can cater for the needs of the future.