The Malta Independent 19 April 2019, Friday

Independent candidate Cassola highlights risks of the Gozo tunnel

Wednesday, 27 March 2019, 20:47 Last update: about 22 days ago

The geological study on the Gozo tunnel carried out so far is only a partial and preliminary study and certainly not enough to ensure the safety of the whole project, independent candidate Arnold Cassola said.

More detailed geological studies have to be conducted. It would be irresponsible to issue tenders and start the works before these detailed geological studies are produced, studied and discussed publicly, he said.

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There are over 60 metres of clay in the sea before sounder rock is reached, Cassola said.

In the preliminary geological study conducted, 7 holes were bored on land and only 2 were bored in the sea. This is surely not enough. There have to be definitely more holes bored in the sea before one can decide on the geological feasibility.

Geological studies have confirmed that the sea between Malta is full of faults, that are a continuation of the faults that we have onshore on Malta. There are at least 10 faults in the seas between Malta and Gozo.

See the Malta faults onlne here: https://malta-contshelf.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTools/index.html?appid=79ad35031ff4449ea92df25a2e2e505e

Former Labour MP Franco Mercieca has stated tht he does not want to publish this preliminary study not to alarm people, adding that it would be dangerous to have a tunnel wider than two single lanes. Is this danger linked to the many faults in the sea between Malta and Gozo?

Franco Mercieca has stated that the over 1 billion tonnes of inert waste produced will be a problem. But he quickly dismissed the problem by saying tht this material will be used for land reclamation, Cassola said.

What Franco Mercieca is saying is a phallacy. In fact, when tunneling, the rock will be bored and it will be reduced to dust. This means that if it were to be used for land reclamation it would cause more damage to the seabed, it would create more turbidity of the seas, it would allow less sunlight to pass through and it would spread much more on the seabed, Cassola said.

The situation at the moment is the following: We have a full and comprehensive study of the sea regarding the geo-physical features, but only 2 bored holes, which is definitely not enough. 

On the other hand, on land we have 7 boreholes dug, but absolutely no extensive geo-physical surveying at all.

All these studies have to be commissioned, completed, studied and discussed publicly -as per Aahrus Convention- before any decision on the geological feasibility of the tunnel is taken.      

Tenders cannot be issued and works cannot be undertaken before all these geological studies are completed -together witht the EIA, the sociological and financial feasibility studies-, and only after they have all been up for public discussion, Cassola said. 

If this does not happen and tenders are issued without all these studies having been made public beforehand, the responsibility would not only be political but also personal. 

 

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