The Malta Independent 16 December 2019, Monday

GRTU welcomes tunnels in Pembroke road network plan, but ‘more focus needed on Paceville’

Sunday, 10 November 2019, 16:09 Last update: about 2 months ago

The GRTU - Malta Chamber of SMEs supports the planned tunnels in the St Andrews - Pembroke road network upgrade plan, however said that more focus is needed on Paceville as well.

An application was filed last May saw a development proposed, which includes road widening, tunnel connections and overall junction improvements, is, according to the applicant, intended to address traffic demand in the area by maximizing the use of the existing road space and improving the capacity of the surrounding links and junctions. Concerns however have been raised on parts of the proposal.

While welcoming the proposed upgrades to the area, "and recognising that there will be a positive impact that will benefit the area as a whole, it is important that a balance between the existing and the proposed upcoming is found," the GRTU said, highlighting that not enough is being proposed to help the existing Paceville area.

The Chamber said that concern has to be registered that current negative impacts have been overlooked and that the current central area (Paceville) is not being given equal weight in terms of accessibility. Nonetheless, the Malta Chamber of SMEs "fully supports such forward looking efforts to deal effectively with the situation as it develops as it also fully supports the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA)'s contributions in support of the Planning Authority's mission ‘ to provide a balanced and sustainable environment', not to mention being duly respectful of the views expressed by the nation's heritage watchdogs."

The chamber said it is concerned that access to the central areas appear to have been sidelined "and this will ultimately undermine the central area as a whole."

The Chamber highlighted the shortcomings in the project proposal. One such shortcoming, was that the tunnel system is not suitably enhanced to ensure an alternative vehicular access for both the residents and business community in Paceville.

The Chamber highlights that the current problems in accessing the centre by the residential community and the patrons of the various establishments, including prime hotels, in the Paceville area will remain.

The GRTU states that the problem at the junction where vehicles enter the Regional road via Triq Sant Andija to go in the direction of St. Andrews is also present.

Other shortcomings with Infrastructure Malta's proposal include failing to provide for measures or arrangements to obviate the chaotic problems encountered by all as a result of the unregulated delivery of merchandise to the various business outlets, and not taking the opportunity to provide for other supporting interventions as should be opportunely considered within the scope of such a major project, "rather than addressing them piecemeal over time and at a consequent greater cost."

The Chamber, as a result, said it would welcome the opportunity to have a meeting where these, amongst other concerns, can be elaborated on.

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