The first new Central Link Project road is expected to open by the end of September.
This was announced by Minister for Infrastructure Ian Borg and and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, along with Infrastructure Malta. The Minister and Secretary were visiting the Central Link Project site.
The road to be opened includes the building of a bypass separated from the residential roads through landscaping, a segregated cycling and pedestrian track between the two parts, as well as differences in road levels. The bypass will include a two-lane carriageway in the direction of Ta’ Qali. This week saw the commencement of surfacing on parts of this new road after it was formed, and underground services were implemented in the first half of the year.
Minister Borg stated that this is an “essential connection” as it will eliminate bottlenecks, and increase efficiency, safety, aesthetics and facilities for alternative means. This is because there will be several footpaths, and the longest segregated cycle track from Mrieħel to Rabat. The project will lead to better air quality and a better quality of life for residents living in village cores connecting to this artery.
Secretary Zrinzo Azzopardi stated the Central Link project is co-financed by European funds which amount to about €11 million. He echoed that this investment will lead to better air quality and a reduction in bottlenecks, along with better facilities for alternative methods of transport.
This was a project that was met with a lot of controversy. Its construction meant the removal of hundreds of trees, many of them generations old. The government had later said that some trees would be relocated.
The mayor of the locality mainly affected, Attard, also opposed the scheme. Other complaints included the removal of a direct Zebbug-Attard route that was also used by cyclists.