New flyover, tunnels and roundabout upgrade announced in €18m project

Source: Times of Malta 21/01/2021

A new flyover will be built for those travelling to and from Kirkop, Mqabba, Qrendi, Żurrieq and Safi while two new tunnels will improve access to the airport and freeport in new €18 million investment plans unveiled on Thursday by Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg.

The Kirkop tunnels and airport intersection project will also upgrade the Gudja roundabout with a new underpass to Birżebbuġa and a flyover to the Kirkop tunnels.

The minister told a the media during a visit to the site that this was yet more proof that “this is a government for the people”.
The investment, he said, will ease the life of many people, especially those who use the area on a daily basis and get stuck in traffic. The new flyover will reduce travel time, cut traffic and reduce the risk of accidents, the minister said.

The investment, he said, was another step forward towards the government’s vision for a “greener infrastructure” through fewer emissions resulting from reduced traffic and the adoption of cleaner and more sustainable modes of transport through more walkways, improved public transport amenities and safer cycle paths.

The project is expected to include a pedestrian walkway, which Infrastructure Malta will be building along the same road as well as a new roundabout design that will be offering safer facilities for road users as well as cyclists, Borg said.

Infrastructure Malta embarked on the project this week together as two other major infrastructure projects - the Santa Luċija underpass and the Marsa junction - near completion.
The project explained
In a separate statement, Infrastructure Malta said the Kirkop tunnels and airport intersection project will transform the roundabout into a grade-separated intersection with direct connections to and from the different routes converging at this junction.

At the lower level, two new tunnels beneath the roundabout will create a direct link between the southbound and northbound carriageways of L-Avjazzjoni Avenue and Ħal Far Road.

These tunnels will allow road users, including heavy vehicles, travelling to and from Birżebbuġa, the Freeport and the Ħal Far Industrial Zone, to bypass the roundabout.

At Gudja, Infrastructure Malta will rebuild the existing roundabout in an improved design to facilitate access to and from Gudja, Għaxaq and the airport. The existing bypass lane for northbound travel from the Kirkop Tunnels to L-Avjazzjoni Avenue will also be rebuilt.

The third level of the intersection will incorporate a new flyover bridging the southbound carriageway of L-Avjazzjoni Avenue with L-Ewwel Titjira Road, towards the Kirkop tunnels.

Commuters heading to Kirkop, Mqabba, Qrendi, Żurrieq and Safi will no longer need to enter the roundabout to reach the Kirkop tunnels.

It also comprises new cycle lanes and safe cycle routes that will complement the cycle lanes and the cycling and pedestrian bridge at L-Avjazzjoni Avenue and the segregated cycling and walking track at San Tumas Road and Ħal Qormi Road, which Infrastructure Malta developed in the past three years.

IM said it drafted the project’s plans and method statements in collaboration with the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage to ensure that the road construction and tunnel excavation works do not impact the Ħal Resqun archaeological remains in the existing roundabout. These catacombs are located off the site of the new underpass and will remain accessible to archaeologists.

This investment may be co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility and part-financed by the Cohesion Fund.