The Malta Independent 5 December 2023, Tuesday
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TMID Editorial: Haphazard, dangerous roadworks

Thursday, 21 September 2023, 09:43 Last update: about 3 months ago

Anyone who has driven through St Andrew’s Road, or who as a pedestrian used the stretch that links the Regional Road with the Coast Road and vice-versa, has come across dangerous moments in the past few weeks, ever since the project to upgrade and widen the carriageway has started.

Drivers and pedestrians have experienced open trenches which are not marked, or not marked properly; makeshift walkways separated from the traffic by a flimsy plastic fence; plastic barriers which obstruct, rather than guide, the traffic; road markings in yellow which create more confusion; traffic islands which were first painted and then later removed, creating an uneven surface of cement; road machinery suddenly appearing to block the flow; endless traffic jams on the northbound section, especially when buses are picking up, disembarking passengers on a single-lane stretch where overtaking is not possible because of bollards; and other factors which have made this frequented part of the road network extremely dangerous.


For example, drivers going round the bend as they arrive from Bahar ic-Caghaq have found an arrow sign jutting out on the inner lane, forcing them to either make a sudden brake or move onto the outer lane, hoping no other cars are coming through at the same time.

The area is even more hazardous at night-time. The road is not well-lit and neither are the barriers that delineate the improvised routes, which have become zig-zags rather than straight driving.

At peak hours, the traffic flow is at a snail’s pace, and this is happening when schools have not yet started. One wonders what is going to happen as from next week, given that the road in question feeds into Pembroke where there is a concentration of public and private schools, all of which are served by coaches and minibuses that will, no doubt, add to the traffic frustrations. Not to mention the many parents who like to take their children to school in their own cars.

We understand that road works need to be carried out. The idea, after all, is to have an upgraded stretch which, once completed, will hopefully lead to a more efficient system.

But why do the authorities – in this case Infrastructure Malta, with the assistance of Transport Malta – give so little regard to safety while planned projects are taking place?

The St Andrew’s Road Project has been on the cards for years. A sign on the side of the road indicates that the application was filed in 2019. So the authorities had ample time in which to prepare a safer journey for both drivers and pedestrians while the work is being done. And yet, it is easy to see that this has been given little consideration, if at all.

Frequent users of the road have noticed that minor collisions are more common these days, and these add to the traffic woes. So far, we have been spared major accidents and we sincerely hope that none will be reported for the duration of the works and beyond.

But why do we leave everything to chance?

We also hope that all the millions of euros that will be spent on the project will not be in vain. Because it is pointless to spend so much money on a road-widening project and then have people parking their cars on the inner lane to go buy cheesecakes, or vans, trucks and trailers blocking lanes to deliver goods.


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