Malta’s government and construction heavyweight Charles Polidano have agreed to split the costs to solve a worrying case of fast-deteriorating concrete at the Ċirkewwa terminal in an out-of-court settlement.
Sources have told the Times of Malta that Transport Malta and Polidano forked out €200,000 each to repair the concrete works.
Lovin Malta had revealed an investigation into the issue had been kept under wraps for close to two years.
The Transport Ministry said filed a judicial letter in court against the contractor, the architect and the project manager but discussions were ongoing with the concerned parties to find an “amicable solution”.
The terminal was an EU-funded project worth around €10 million, built by Polidano Group and completed in 2012 under the Nationalist administration, just before the 2013 election. Six years later, it was showing dangerous signs of fast deterioration.
It was the Nationalist administration that spearheaded the project, as was the case with Mater Dei Hospital, which also resulted in a faulty concrete controversy.
But whereas the Labour government seized lots of political mileage from the Mater Dei Hospital concrete story, it never publicised what was happening at Ċirkewwa.
According to the CTP technical report quoted by The Sunday Times, the concrete on the bridge is showing serious signs of deterioration, with visible cracking, patches coming loose as well as hollow areas in the structure.
Tests also found that the concrete used on the bridge’s columns was even poorer than that used in the rest of the structure.
“The report recommends that in the short term, the hollow-sounding concrete should be removed and a new layer added to stop the carbonation. In the longer term, the report recommends that a detailed structural analysis of the terminal bridge be carried out to assess the extent of the damage and its impact on the structure’s weight-carrying capacity,” The Sunday Times said.
“The most comprehensive long-term measure, however, is to replace the concrete in the bridge’s columns, possibly using steel,” it added.
Asked why the government never made the case public, the ministry spokeswoman said: “There was no particular reason – such issues occur from time to time and this case, as usual, is being tackled in a professional way so as to resolve the matter in the best way possible.”
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