The Malta Independent 18 March 2019, Monday

Use old railway tunnel to save trees at Saqqajja - geologist

Kevin Schembri Orland Saturday, 23 June 2018, 11:15 Last update: about 10 months ago

Geologist Peter Gatt has come up with a possible alternative to the proposed works on Mdina road, which have caused controversy over recent weeks.

Writing on Facebook, Gatt said: “as the controversy about the uprooting of trees along the road to Rabat (Triq L-Imdina) continues, hasn't anyone thought of using the old railway tunnel (not far from the Rabat road) that passes from underneath Saqqajja and ends in Mdina? A diversion to Rabat can be tunnelled, leaving the present road to Rabat with its iconic pine trees untouched.”


“The road would become a two-carriageway one-way road to Rabat, whereas the tunnel would handle traffic in the opposite direction,” he suggests.

“The old railway tunnel needs to be assessed and brought back to use - it is probably a shorter and more direct route to Rabat relative to the present road.”

This proposal by Gatt comes as Transport Minister Ian Borg is under fire for the road proposals.

Works on the road in question form part of the Central Link project, an attempt by government to resolve the traffic issues, although the proposal saw controversy over the number of trees which were proposed to be removed, over changing the road which leads to one of Malta’s most iconic landmarks (Mdina), and over the idea being a temporary solution to alleviate traffic.

Originally the project was to see around 135 Aleppo pine trees removed, yet this number was then reduced to around 60, and then down to 15 where the number stands today.

Minister Ian Borg has defended the project and has stated that this project will go through. He argues that hundreds of new trees will also be planted along the route, almost doubling the number of current trees in the area.

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