(Photo: Ivana Busuttil/ Maltese Roads Traffic Updates)

Motorists who commute through Għadira Bay will take a huge sigh of relief in the wake of the news as this major arterial thoroughfare is set to be reopened by the end of this week. Infrastructure Malta which is handling the works told Voice of the Workers Weekly that the four lanes of Marfa Road will be re-opened by Sunday May 22.

In recent weeks this major road which is Malta’s only link to the Gozo ferry and Armier Bay was a huge source of frustration as the closure of two of the four lanes resulted in a bottleneck especially during weekends and public holidays. Works have been going on since the turn of the years as part of a project to lay water pipelines beneath the northbound carriageway, and subsequently to rebuild this part of the road. However, the slow pace of works and at times the absence of any police officers or traffic wardens resulted in a huge gridlock. Driving through this road on Sunday afternoon proved to be a huge ordeal as there were instances whereby a short trip from Ċirkewwa to Mellieħa bypass took almost two hours. Irate motorists took to Facebook to vent their frustration and some even took pictures using a drone to make their point to the authorities.

Contacted by this portal, a spokesman for Infrastructure Malta insisted that a temporary traffic management plan to use the southbound carriageway as a two-way road, with one lane in each direction, was introduced. Though he insisted that Transport Malta enforcement officers were on site to assist road users travelling along this route, on some occasions none of these officers were to be seen. Moreover, the bollards demarcating the temporary traffic arrangement were only installed following appeals by motorists in the wake of several near misses.

As for the nature of the works, Infrastructure Malta said that most of the 4.8 kilometres water pipelines had been laid and consequently the carriageway, pavements and pedestrian crossings were being rebuilt. The newly-installed underground networks also include a 600-millimetre pipeline that forms part of the Corporation’s project to connect its reservoirs in Ta’ Qali with the Ċirkewwa and Ħondoq ir-Rummien reverse osmosis, to improve the quality of its services in the Maltese Islands.

More delays possible after summer

Though the northbound carriageway will be re-opened by the end of this week when the new foundations and first asphalt layers will have been laid, works will be resuming after summer to carry out the final part. Furthermore, there could be more delays later on in view of a separate project to upgrade the Għadira Bay promenade. The latter which is being handled by the Tourism Ministry is scheduled to begin this October. Given the recent experience one hopes that certain mistakes will not be repeated.