The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Halfway there: Santa Luċija tunnel project to be completed by end of the year

Monday, 13 April 2020, 13:45 Last update: about 3 months ago

Infrastructure Malta said on Monday it is intensifying works so that the Santa Lucija tunnels project can be completed within the end of this year.

Prime Minister Robert Abela and Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg visited the project on Monday morning.

This project includes two cut-and-cover tunnels beneath the Santa Luċija roundabout, to directly connect Santa Luċija Avenue (Addolorata Hill) with Tal-Barrani Road. Above this underpass, the existing roundabout will be rebuilt with a new design that facilitates safer and quicker access to the residents of Santa Luċija, Paola and Tarxien. The project also includes the redesign and reconstruction of a nearby jogging track, the upgrading of the Tal-Barrani Road pedestrian subway to make this accessible to cyclists and to persons with disability, as well as a new 1 km shared pedestrian and cycling path connecting Santa Luċija to Marsa.


PM Abela, said that projects such as the one at Santa Lucija demonstrated the Government's commitment to the infrastructure sector. "This Government is stream rolling ahead in implementing a plan many thought was too ambitious. Today, as these grand ideas turn into realty, it is important to understand that when one has a concrete plan these types of projects can be completed", Dr Abela said. 

Abela thanked all the workers involved in the project for giving their all despite the extraordinary times in which we are living. The Prime Minister said that these projects were making Malta futureproof while decreasing the inconvenience experienced by drivers, pedestrians and residents.

"This project is as important as that of the Marsa Junction because not only will it build on the Marsa Junction Project so that thousands of people that live or work in the South of Malta will be able to travel in less time and thus more serenely, but also because we have seen to the maximisation of the benefits that the Santa Luċija Tunnels project will bring. We have looked at the needs of the residents of the area and we are therefore improving access for those who walk, cycle and for persons with disability, along with the plans to improve an open space - the jogging track in Santa Luċija", said Minister Ian Borg.

"It is worth remembering that in light of Covid-19, Infrastructure Malta has taken the necessary precautions for its workers and those of its contractors, but has also taken the opportunity to hasten works especially in areas that require deviations while less people are using our roads. The agency has continued with several works in several zones such as the Marsa-Ħamrun Bypass, the Central Link Project, the Marsa Junction Project and residential roads across Malta, amongst others, and thus whilst thanking all the workers, I look forward to the continuation of these works so that when all returns back to normal, the country's residents will find a quality infrastructure, as befits our country," Borg said.


Information about the Project

The twin-tube, four-lane tunnels will extend 90 metres beneath the existing roundabout, to connect the two carriageways of Santa Luċija Avenue with Tal-Barrani Road. Two approach ramps will link the tunnel to the two roads. The new roundabout above the tunnel will be connected to Santa Luċija Avenue and Tal-Barrani Road through four slip roads.

During the last few months, workers also built a 1.1 km twin walk-through underground culvert, extending from Tal-Barrani Road, along Aviation Avenue, to reach another similar underground tunnel network built beneath the new flyovers of the Marsa Junction Project. These tunnels will accommodate one of the country's principal 132kV high voltage electricity network connections.

The excavation and formation of the 130-metre approach ramps to the tunnels on either side of the roundabout is nearing completion. Infrastructure Malta's contractors are now excavating the final section of this connection, beneath the roundabout. Most of the retaining walls of the approach ramps are ready as well. Infrastructure Malta is using 398 precast reinforced concrete panels to form these walls. The construction of the slip roads is in progress as well. In the coming months, the slip roads will be used as temporary diversion lanes while the final part of the tunnel structure is being built.

Infrastructure Malta is also replacing a major underground potable water distribution pipeline in the same area. It is laying several kilometres of underground cable ducts for internet, traffic management ICT systems and other telecommunication networks as well. New reservoirs and 2.7 kilometres of storm water pipes are also included in this project.


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