Confusion and traffic jams in the sweltering heat are expected to persist this summer for those on their way to Gozo or Armier with work on the main Ghadira artery not expected to be completed before at least next March.
The Shift is informed that work on the road, which has been ongoing in a piecemeal fashion since 2022, is now being carried out by three different contractors and several subcontractors, with Infrastructure Malta dividing the workload into various bits and pieces.
This, according to sources at the agency, is continuing to hamper the work’s pace since coordination issues are cropping up on a weekly basis.
The Shift is also informed work on the road will be suspended over the summer for three months and that temporary arrangements have been made to keep traffic flowing as much as possible through the incomplete project following complaints, particularly from Gozitan commuters and tourism operators.
Contacted by The Shift, Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon confirmed that work on the Ghadira road is to now resume in October.
Falzon also confirmed that the €8 million project’s new target date for completion is March 2024.
Work began in January 2022
The project originally included the expansion of the beach through sand reclamation. But this part of the project, which got Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo political mileage before the last election, has for some reason now been cancelled.
Unlike other major projects, work on the Ghadira road is being carried out by several different contractors.
While one carriageway has been entrusted to V&C Contractors Ltd, owned by Vince Borg known as Censu n-Nizz – a former canvasser for Opposition MP Beppe Fenech Adami – the other half of the road was given to Bonnici Brothers, former clients of Prime Minister Robert Abela. E&L Enterprises Ltd was, meanwhile, awarded a contract for ironwork.
But the Infrastructure Malta CEO does not feel the splitting up of work on the multimillion-euro project has created any additional complications.
“Considering the different phasing involved in this project, and the sensitivity of the area, I believe our approach was the right one and hopefully people can start benefitting from this project in the weeks ahead.”
The Ghadira road project is one of at least two other major projects in the area being carried out concurrently and which have turned the roads in the north of the island into a virtual gridlock.
Work on other roads is also being carried out between Xemxija and Ghajn Tuffieha while another project is being undertaken in Xemxija.
Commuters have complained to The Shift that these areas of the island, particularly during weekends, have been turned into a nightmare scenario for drivers.
Most are of the common sentiment that not only does work on a few kilometres of road take forever and a day to get done, but the lack of planning when it comes to coordinating such projects is amateurish at best.