Work on the rebuilding of the road from Victoria to Marsalforn is set to start “in the coming weeks,” Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri revealed on Tuesday.
Camilleri was replying to a parliamentary question by Gozitan Nationalist Party MP Chris Said, but failed to elaborate on why the project – given prominence in the last budget – appears to have been delayed.
The project will not only involve the widening of Marsalforn Road, but will also involve the construction of a bypass linking Triq Patri Ġaċintu Camenzuli and Triq Ġorġ Pisani in a bid to limit traffic passing through the Victoria city centre.
But the ensuing loss of agricultural land has been a source of controversy, as is the projected loss of trees.
In replies to previous parliamentary questions, Camilleri had confirmed that 177 trees were set to be uprooted, of which 44 belonged to protected species – 24 date palms, 11 cypresses and 9 maritime pines. The rest are non-native species, primarily fast-growing Australian imports such as acacia and eucalyptus. Ten protected olive trees are also slated for transplantation.
The minister had also said that there were two main reasons for the project, with one of them being the various structural problems found throughout the road. He explained that parts were caving in, and two old bridges were in a precarious state.
But he also argued that parts of the road were dangerous to motorists and pedestrians alike, and that consequently, a number of dangerous curves were set to be realigned.