Just over one-third of the Marsa junction project, which will see the construction of seven flyovers to ease the traffic congestion in the area has been completed, Infrastructure Malta CEO Frederick Azzopardi said in a press briefing on Monday.
Thirty-five per cent of the project is now ready, Azzopardi told the media this morning.
The first part of the project to be opened to drivers will be the northbound carriageway between Aldo Moro Road in Marsa to Giuseppe Garibaldi Street which connects Luqa, which is set to be ready by end of September. For now, however, to aid traffic management the carriageway will be opened for traffic flowing in a southbound direction – that being from Marsa to Luqa.
After September’s opening, the next deadline will be January 2020, when two other flyovers are expected to be completed. Azzopardi said that the project will be completed in its entirety by the end of 2020.
The contractors responsible for the project have already set this flyover’s 56 concrete beans and cast its deck. Each beam is 26 metres long and weighs over 36 tonnes. All the concrete beams, Azzopardi explained, are being made in Malta at a site right to the area where the project is being carried out.
The steel beams which form the curved superstructure that connects Aldo Moro Road to Giuseppe Garibaldi Street was fabricated in Turkey and shipped into Malta over the past weeks. They range between 106 and 135 metres in length, and weigh over 85 tonnes each.
All in all, 187 out of the 337 underground piles have are ready, while 20 out of the 42 pillars which will make up the project are also in place. 86 out of the 264 beans that the project needs are also ready, Azzopardi said.
The Infrastructure Malta CEO explained that the concrete undergoes various tests both by the contractors and the agency themselves, saying that they are cured in the space of a day, and then left for three days at which point a cube of the concrete is taken away for a crush test. If the concrete fails the test then the whole beam is set aside. Azzopardi confirmed that in fact there were cases where beams were indeed set aside due to them failing this test. Nonetheless, Azzopardi noted that the structure has a guarantee of 100 years.
Azzopardi also announced that as of Monday afternoon, the northbound carriageway of Giuseppe Garibaldi Street will reopen, meaning that drivers will no longer have to be diverted through the Marsa industrial estate to re-join Aldo Moro Road. He said that while the road had been closed, the second flyover’s abutment and ramp walls were built, while several underground water, electricity, and telecommunication network cables were upgraded and rerouted.
As from Tuesday, road users will start noticing changes to the existing configuration of the northbound lanes connecting the Addolorata traffic lights junction to Aldo Moro Road, with lanes being shifted so that workers can continue to lay the concrete decks for the flyovers above. This is a safety precaution to make sure that no objects fall on cars passing underneath during the laying process.
Beneath the flyovers, Infrastructure Malta is laying 15 kilometres of underground electricity, water, sewage, internet, and telecommunications service cables, Azzopardi said before noting that a storm water system including a new reservoir is also under construction.
Rainwater from the reservoir will be used to water the new trees and the landscaped areas that the agency is preparing to embellish the Marsa Junction Project site with, Azzopardi said.