Infrastructure Malta has opened the Santa Lucija roundabout underpass, creating an uninterrupted connection between Santa Lucija Avenue and Tal-Barrani Road, along the principal route to southern Malta.
IM said these new tunnels would cut over 30% of journey times, whilst reducing congestion emissions caused by the previous roundabout junction, which created several busy routes, including three arterial roads and another three roads leading to Santa Lucija, Paola and Tarxien.
During the opening event, Capital Projects minister Ian Borg praised the new works for aiding in mobility and reducing emissions due to less traffic time.
“Every capital infrastructure project is an environmental project,” he remarked.
The prime minister, also present, said that the project will have a beneficial impact on those living in the south of Malta. He also made quick comments on the role the EU had in this project in terms of financing.
“Last June we negotiated largest EU funding package for Malta,” he said, alluding to the EU’s COVID-19 budget deal. “It will be wise for us to come up with more of these projects in order to absorb more EU funds.”
The agency said the new grade-separated junction shifted the business routes of this crossroads, between Tal-Barrani Road and Santa Lucija Avenue to the new tunnels, facilitating commutes through the other roundabout connections as well.
Above the underpass, IM’s contractors have also begun rebuilding the roundabout in a safer design, to improve access to residents in Santa Lucija, Paola and Tarxien.
The project also includes the reconstruction of a nearby jogging track as well as a new shared pedestrian and cycling path connection Santa Lucija to Marsa. IM is also rebuilding the old Tal-Barrani road pedestrian subway in a safe design for cyclists with pathways that are accessible to all.
The new shared pedestrian and cycling path formed part of a longer safer cycle network connecting Luqa, Santa Lucija, Tarxien, Paola, Marsa and Qormi.
The first stretch of this bi-directional path was developed as part of the reconstruction of Hal Luqa Road, next to Santa Lucija’s Garden of Serenity, in 2019. Through the Santa Lucija Roundabout Underpass Project, Infrastructure Malta has now extended it down the northbound carriageway of Santa Lucija Avenue, until it reaches Marsa, where other segregated cycling tracks and a cycling and pedestrian underpass are being developed through the Marsa Junction Project.
IM said that the Santa Lucija roundabout underpass project formed part of a long-term investment along with the main central route of Malta, extending from Pembroke and St Julian’s to Birzebbuga. This includes other arterial road upgrades along this route, such as the 2018 reconstruction of Dicembru 13 road and the Marsa-Hamrun bypass, the 2019 rebuilding of part of the regional road, the Msida Valley Bridge and Hal Luqa Road, the rebuilding of Hal Qormi Road and San Tumas Road earlier this year, as well as the seven flyovers of the Marsa junction project.
The agency noted that this arterial route will continue to be improved with other upcoming projects, such as new tunnels of the Pembroke-St. Julian’s Connections Project, the Msida Creek Project, the Kirkop Tunnels and Airport Intersection Project (KTAIP) in Gudja, and the Luqa Junction Project.