PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR TRANSPORT

Infrastructure Malta is entering the final stages of the Kirkop Tunnels and Airport Intersection Project (KTAIP).

This was discussed by Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Chris Bonett and Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon during a press briefing on the progress of the project.

Minister Farrugia said that the project is now nearing completion with more than 80% of works completed. He explained that this investment will provide quicker and safer connections to Luqa, Gudja, Birżebbuġa, Kirkop, Mqabba, Qrendi, Żurrieq, Safi and other nearby areas.

“This ambitious project is another testament to our commitment as a government towards improving road safety, reducing travel time and tackling traffic and congestion. Our country and our people deserve infrastructure that is safe and that fits the 21st century,” Minister Farrugia said.

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Chris Bonett said that €18 million is being invested from the Connecting Europe Facility Fund on the Kirkop tunnels and the flyover deck project.

“We are investing €25.6 million, of which €21.9 million are European funds, to complete both projects together, reducing travel time by up to 74% in each direction along this route and improving the lives of the residents of Gudja, Ħal Luqa, Birżebbuġa, Ħal Kirkop, Żurrieq and the surrounding localities,” said Dr Bonett.

It was explained that the project also includes the redevelopment of the Gudja roundabout to introduce a new underpass to Birżebbuġa and new facilities for alternative modes of travel. It will also improve access to the Malta International Airport and the Malta Freeport, two strategic locations for many economic sectors.

In November 2022, the agency opened part of the new 200-metre cut-and-cover underpass of the project, offering a quicker route when travelling to Birżebbuġa, the Freeport and the Ħal Far Industrial Zone. Ultimately, the underpass will create a safer link between the southbound and northbound carriageways of L-Avjazzjoni Avenue and Ħal Far Road. It will allow road users, including heavy vehicles, travelling to and from Birżebbuġa, the Freeport and the Ħal Far Industrial Zone, to bypass the roundabout. The underpass is set for completion by end of January 2023.

At grade, Infrastructure Malta is rebuilding the existing Gudja roundabout and its bypass lanes in an improved design, facilitating access: L-Avjazzjoni Avenue, to and from Luqa, Marsa and Qormi; Dawret il-Gudja Road, towards Gudja and Għaxaq; Ħal Far Road, to and from Ħal Far, the Freeport and Birżebbuġa; and L-Ewwel Titjira Road, which links the roundabout with the Kirkop Tunnels. It also includes Il-Karwija Road, leading to the airport and Gudja. The redesigned roundabout is set for completion and to be utilised by end of January 2023.

The third level of the intersection includes the new 400-metre flyover. Infrastructure Malta lifted in place all seven steel structures of the flyover deck of the KTAIP, bridging the southbound carriageway of L-Avjazzjoni Avenue with L-Ewwel Titjira Road, towards the Kirkop Tunnels. Commuters heading to Kirkop, Mqabba, Qrendi, Żurrieq and Safi will no longer need to enter the roundabout to reach the Kirkop Tunnels. The agency’s contractors are casting the concrete base of the flyover deck, with plans to complete flyover works by end of January 2023.

The project will also overhaul the area’s underground services networks, including 10 kilometres of new electricity cables, internet and other telecommunication services cable ducts, water mains, sewers and stormwater pipelines.

Infrastructure Malta is planning the project works in collaboration with the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, to ensure that they do not impact the Ħal Resqun archaeological remains in the same area. This historical site will remain accessible to archaeologists as it was before the project commenced. Archaeologists approved by the superintendence are monitoring all excavation works.

This investment is co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility and part-financed by the Cohesion Fund.​

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