Photos: Trees felled to start Santa Luċija project

Miguela Xuereb

Pictures from Santa Luċija show a number of trees have already been cut down as part of the commencement of works on the new roundabout.

In a statement issued last year by Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, they warned of a large number of trees which would be destroyed as a result.

FAA’s comments are now followed by the Environmental Resources Authority explaining that over 2,000 (2,268) new or existing trees will be planted or re-planted as part of the Santa Luċija tunnel underpass.

ERA says that just under half of these, 1,011, will be planted (757) or transplanted (254) surrounding the nine localities affected; Paola, Santa Luċija, Għaxaq, Tarxien, Marsa, Zejtun, Marsascala, Luqa and Zabbar.

This is said to add 300 new trees to the project area, replacing the 293 which will be removed in order to make way for the creation of two new underground tunnels between Tal-Barrani Road and Vjal Santa Luċija. The Santa Lucija roundabout above it will also be redesigned.

According to Infrastructure Malta, the new tunnels will contain new two-lane carriageways of 90 metres along with two approach ramps of over 130 metres.

The authority also highlights that the project will also include the rebuilding of the existing jogging track, which will also receive some of the transplanted trees.

The tunnels are also understood to soon hold the 132kv electrical connections which will link Delimara Power Station with its distribution centre at the former Marsa Power Station.

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Infrastructure Malta adds that ERA is overseeing the uprooting and replacement of the trees. ERA in turn states that the permit holder for the transplanting (Infrastructure Malta) will thus be responsible for their care and maintenance. The tree species are understood to be Olea europaea, Ficus microcarpa and Morus alba.

Both authorities add that a further 1,257 trees will also be planted at additional sites across the country. These include the Majjistral Park, Mellieha, Maghtab Park, Naxxar, and Marsascala.