Contractors bag extra €7m for Mriehel underpass, only to create new bottleneck

Costs are expected to increase further until project is completed


Commuters are complaining about the new, half-finished, underpass on the Mriehel Bypass, ‘inaugurated’ with much pomp earlier this week by Minister Aaron Farrugia, since it has so far only served to increase traffic.

Those using the new underpass are ending up in a major bottleneck as soon as they emerge from the short 60-metre-long underpass, complicated further by the new traffic lights installed mid-way on the Mriehel bypass.

The underpass next to the MFSA headquarters was announced by Minister Ian Borg in 2021 when he was responsible for roads during the last administration as an afterthought.

The consortium responsible for the Central Link project has already bagged an extra €7 million on a tender that has already cost taxpayers €28 million.

Research by The Shift shows that the consortium – Link-2018 JV – was awarded at least 10 direct orders over and above the tender to accommodate Borg’s addition to the project.

Some of the direct oders awarded to the consortium. Source: Government Gazette

Link-2018 JV includes V&C Contractors, owned by Vince Borg, known as Censu n-Nizz, a former Beppe Fenech Adami ‘canvasser’ turned  Labour in 2013, Schembri Barbros and Schembri Holdings, known as Tad-Dubbu. The contractors are known to be close to Ian Borg, now shifted to the foreign affairs ministry.

While these additional direct orders have already cost taxpayers another €7 million, the project is far from ready and costs are expected to increase further, despite Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia’s ‘inauguration’.

The area is still a building site with only one direction of the underpass opened. The other roads leading towards Rabat are still not ready, with heavy vehicles and workmen trying to cope as heavy traffic passes next to them.

Commuters complain

Meanwhile,  commuters who spoke to The Shift yesterday described the new underpass as “a waste of time and money” as it has so far only served to compound traffic problems.

“To make matters worse, you now have to wait 20 to 30 minutes on the Mriehel bypass in the direction to Valletta, at least during the morning rush hour, as the new traffic lights are very slow and can’t cope with the traffic,” a frustrated driver told The Shift.

On Wednesday morning, the Mriehel bypass was at a total standstill between 7 and 9.30 am, with cars even stuck inside the new underpass.

Minister Farrugia and Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon did not reply to questions.

The roads agency is already facing criticism for several scandals revealed by the press and the way it dishes out millions of euro in direct orders every year.

The government has so far resisted calls for a thorough investigation.


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1 month ago

The widening of the “Bridge at Triq il-Linja ” has been messed up and abondoned. It was an election gimmick. The original flat arch architecture has been enclosed with blocks of concrete, ruining the architecture that has survived the many years and the flooding that destroyed the main roads around it . It had to be a idiot minister and his stupid consultants to try and destroy it. It is still in time to remove the eyesore blocks and build the other flat arches , if they know how, to widen the road.

Last edited 1 month ago by makjavel
1 month ago

This underpass is still subject to a flooding test.

1 month ago

Kollu tort Robert Abela
Robert Abela pogga Ministru li ma jifhem xejn fit toroq jew l arkitettura taghhom.
Biex taxxaq lill Mulej CEO ta’ Infrastructure Malta tpogga bniedem li jifhem biss kif johrog u jbiegh biljett tal Ajru.
Kif pajjizna jista’ jiehu r ruh?

Last edited 1 month ago by Bamboccu
1 month ago

Well I hate to be smug but I’ve been saying it for months , this was not part of the racetrack from Qormi to Rabat and was an “Add on” because more money required washing so guess what, a purpose built clusterfuck, but hey don’t fret, they knew that before they started it and likely they have a solution! Needs more money and of course more inconvenience coming your way soon! Mafialand.

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

Boris Johnson messed up and resigned. Liz Truss messed it up and resigned.
Here in Malta the Labour Party has messed up every single day since but nobody resigned.
If one thinks that Joseph Muscat resigned, forget it. He is now free to wheeler deal with impunity.
All PL candidates that were of the old guard have been sidelined, pensioned off and/or given a sideways promotion. Every now and then they pipe up and gently criticise the government.

Chris Stott
Chris Stott
1 month ago

It doesn’t really make any sense. I mean, why an underpass? It could easily have just been a normal road..

Haha I love the way they inarguate unfinished projects here though. I remember Wied Hal-Balzan was in the govt gazette as finished and a shining example on Malta roads 1.5 years before the road was finished, without any of the top layer on – the metal work was still raised on the “finished” section 😂

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