The new Central Link underpass, which has been recently added to the project, will not lead to an increase in the project costs. This has been revealed today in Parliament by Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg, in a reply to a Parliamentary Question by Opposition spokesperson David Thake.
According to the Minister’s reply, Infrastructure Malta’s ongoing consultation led to an update on the project, to include an underpass which will replace lanes previously planned to go through the roundabout. The new underpass will connect traffic from Balzan to Mrieħel without the need for drivers to go through the roundabout, and thus limiting the number of cars using the roundabout and potential accidents.
The Minister said that the updates to the original plans will not increase projected costs as much of the underpass-related work was already required in order to introduce new lanes and services. In fact, Infrastructure Malta is working to finish the project on time and at a lower cost than originally projected.
Works on the Central Link project commenced in January 2020, based on the 2006 Central Malta Local Plan which had identified traffic congestion problems in Attard. Infrastructure Malta reviewed the 2006 plan, reducing the impact on surrounding land from the original proposals, and adding new facilities, including walking and cycling lanes.
The project is expected to cut commuting time by half, with 13 new junctions, 7 kilometres of new lanes and the removal of traffic lights.
The Central Link Project is also expected to contribute to cleaner air with an estimated reduction of 66% of particulate matter and 41% of Nitrogen Dioxide in neighbouring areas by 2030.