The Malta Independent 16 December 2017, Saturday

TMID Editorial: Infrastructure - Stick to a successful formula

Thursday, 7 December 2017, 13:54 Last update: about 8 days ago

Over the past year we have witnessed the Kappara junction project gradually take shape.

Since our offices are situated in St Julian’s, most of us have seen the flyover take shape day by day on our way to and from work.

On more than one occasion we have written about the project, and how well it has been handled, up to now, at least. But things have now taken a downturn.

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This is quite a massive project, and we were impressed at how little traffic was affected – at least traffic going from north to south and vice versa – during the most complicated stages, when large concrete and metal structures were carefully lowered into place. Back then traffic flow was minimally disrupted, despite the huge machinery and the hundreds of workers present on site.

But now that the project has entered its final phase – the government has always said it would be fully completed by the end of this year – driving over that section of Regional Road has become a nightmare.

From our offices we can see that traffic flow heading towards Kappara over the Regional Road bridge is almost at a complete standstill. And this is not happening during morning and afternoon rush hours only, but throughout the entire day.

The reason is that the new flyover has been reduced to just one lane for each direction, meaning that new bottlenecks have been created.

During many phases of the project, traffic lanes were only reduced or rerouted during the night, when traffic is minimal, but it seems that this is no longer the case.

One would expect that a formula that worked for most of the project’s duration would be retained until the end. Instead, the area around Birkirkara Road has become more clogged up than ever, now also affected by the backlog starting from Regional Road. We hope that the relevant authorities do take note of this and remedy the situation, especially now, during Christmas time, when the St Julian’s and San Gwann areas see an increased volume of traffic.

The government has now embarked on a project that is far more ambitious than Kappara – the Marsa junction. The project aims to address one of Malta’s biggest, if not the biggest, traffic headache.

One would hope that the necessary measures are taken to minimize impact on traffic not only during the first phases of the project but throughout the entire span of works.

Over the past few days this newspaper has also received complaints on the City Gate project, comprising of the newly restored Triton fountain and paving project around it.

While the project has given the area a much needed renovation after it was left to deteriorate over the years, it is simply a shame that the entrance to Valletta remains a construction site at this time of the year.

This project is also scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Hopefully, works will be completed and the hoarding surrounding the newly revived piazza will be removed in time for Christmas.

 

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