Controversy over Imrieħel Bypass flyover

Updated 04:34 PM

Flyover will replace pedestrian footbridge inaugurated two years ago

Photo: Moviment Graffitti

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A plan by Infrastructure Malta to build a flyover in the Imrieħel Bypass has been met by criticism. Qormi residents and farmers are opposing the project.

The Partit Nazzjonalista in a statement declared that this is another example of lack of consultation.

Infrastructure Malta confirmed in a statement that land will be taken to pave way to a flyover at at the crossroads between Imrieħel Bypass (Vjal ir-Royal Malta Artillery) and Triq in-Negozju.  The agency justified the plan due to a dangerous blind corner that resulted in serious accidents in the past.

Infrastructure Malta said that the project is still in initial stages and it was misguiding that during the press conference it was declared that the project is being kept in secret.

The Infrastructure agency argued that the project forms part of the Central Local Plan for Malta (2006) and falls in-line with the main priorities to improve the safety of Imrieħel Bypass.

Infrastructure Malta said that all documents will be made public once the proposal will be presented to the Planning Authority.

Qormi farmers and residents angered

Qormi farmers and residents are angered by yet another roadbuilding project described as ‘mysterious’ by Moviment Graffitti.  This Infrastructure Malta project will be taking up of over 20 tumoli of arable land.

The NGO argued that the new flyover planned for the Imriehel Bypass will forever destroy the farming activity in the area.

The NGO said that the proposed road in an ODZ area, whose plans are currently unavailable on the PA’s map server, will cut through agricultural land which is larger than three football pitches. It will also mean the end of one of the last green lungs in Qormi, which is already which is already suffering from traffic induced pollution and is reducing the air quality.

Graffitti said that the flyover will destroy a huge water reservoir and uproot several protected olive and pomegranate trees, some of which date hundreds of years.

Moviment Graffitti criticised Infrastructure Malta’s CEO Ing. Frederick Azzopardi for “engineering a systematic campaign against farmers, driving them out of their lands to appease various developers and commercial interests.”

Qormi farmers expressed their dismay at the way Infrastructure Malta simply decided, without notification, to take their lands. Following similar experiences by other farmers across the island, they are worried about the way these works are carried out.

Residents and Local Councils need to be consulted

In a reaction the Partit Nazzjonalista said that this is another show of incompetence by the Abela administration. Once again, the party in the opposition said, this is not the first time that the government does not any consultation with stakeholders.

Minister Ian Borg cannot keep on ignoring Local Councils and residents when planning infrastructural projects the PN declared.

Only two years since footbridge opening

Residents have raised concerns about the accessibility to the area. According to the proposed plan, the flyover will also destroy the new footbridge connecting Imriehel to Qormi. The footbridge was built to prevent fatal traffic accidents on the busy Imriehel Bypass. It was inaugurated two years ago.

The residents said that there is nothing to be gained in terms of traffic flow by a project which they suspect is being carried out to service the commercial developments in Imriehel.

Moreover, residents have voiced their concerns about the endangering of a historical watchtower, built during Grandmaster Pinto’s rule, which dates approximately 500 years.