Infrastructure Malta is launching the second phase of the €4 million Triq Bormla project, including a new segregated cycling track and footpath along the vehicular carriageway reconstructed last year as part of the same investment.
Triq Bormla, which was recently renamed Triq l-Ahhar Hbit mit-Torok, is the main route between Zabbar and Zejtun. The one-kilometre link is also known as “tac-Cawsli”, the Maltese name for the old mulberry trees that line its central strip. It is used by many road users who live or work in several localities in the area, including Tarxien, Fgura, Zabbar, Zejtun, Cottonera and the Bulebel Industrial Estate.
The road had been left in a state of disrepair for many years. Due to its weak foundations, parts of its surface had caved in, causing flooding and other difficulties to road users. As part of the reconstruction project launched last year, Triq l-Ahhar Hbit mit-Torok is being rebuilt in a new design, including a two-lane carriageway for vehicles on one side, segregated cycling and walking facilities on the other and a landscaped area comprising the existing mulberry trees, in between. The new layout also includes new bus lay-bys for safer public transport commutes.
During the first phase of the project, the road’s old southbound carriageway was closed to be rebuilt with new foundations. Stretches of the road lie over deep disused quarries that had been refilled with construction debris and other weak materials that are not adequate for the road’s load requirements. These materials were excavated and replaced with retaining structures comprising 1,790 blocks of limestone and over 3,000 tonnes of concrete, adding up to over 6,000 tonnes of material.
Whilst building the foundations, Infrastructure Malta also installed 3.3 kilometres of new underground water, electricity and telecommunications distribution networks and sewage pipelines, to reinforce the provision of these services in nearby areas. A new 2.5 kilometre storm water system linked to an existing reservoir was also introduced to reduce the risk of flooding. A new boundary rubble wall was also built along the side of the road, to separate it from the adjacent fields.
After all underground works were completed, the first asphalt layers of the new two-lane carriageway were laid in December. This carriageway is now open to road users in the northbound direction only, from Zejtun to Zabbar, whilst the old northbound carriageway is closed to be transformed into the new paved footpath and bi-directional cycle track. The road will be reopened in both directions before summer, as soon as the second phase of the project is completed. This final phase also includes the installation of a new street lighting system and the laying of another two kilometres of sewage and water distribution pipelines.
The row of mulberry trees will be retained in its original location, which will now form part of a landscaped area separating the vehicle carriageway from the cycling and pedestrian strip. Infrastructure Malta is planting 21 new mulberry trees, instead of 13 existing ones that had died due to a tree borer infestation several years ago. It is also working with the environmental authorities and with a local non-governmental organisation, Wirt iz-Zejtun, to support the necessary interventions required to protect the mulberry trees that have not yet been affected by this infestation.
The reconstruction of Triq l-Ahhar Hbit mit-Torok is co-financed by the European Union, as part of the European Regional Development Fund project ERDF.PA.7.0091. SMITHS: Introduction of Sustainable Multi Intermodal Transport Hubs across Malta and Gozo.