Infrastructure Malta completed the €1.6 million reconstruction of one of the quays used by the Gozo ferries in Cirkewwa, Mellieha.
Due to extensive damages to its structure, this old 100-metre quay could not be safely used as a secondary mooring location for the Gozo ferries. Following a major upgrade, including a redesign of its deck, this quay is now safer for mooring crews, passengers and sailors during berthing and embarkation operations.
Infrastructure Malta started this project last summer with the demolition of most of the quay’s structure above sea level and with major repairs of its subsea foundations. In the meantime, in an off-site concrete plant, the project contractors prepared precast elements to form the quay’s new cope beam and fender blocks. This operation enabled site works to be carried out faster and more efficiently. The new fender blocks include safety walls to protect mooring workers from the risk of falling from heights during berthing operations.
The quay’s new 2,320 square metre deck stands at a higher level than the original deck for increased safety, reducing the impact of waves overtopping the deck during rough sea conditions. It is equipped with new mooring bollards and safety ladders as well as underground pipelines to facilitate potable and wastewater connections for docked ferries. Underground ducts for a new lighting system are in place as well.
More than 4,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete were required to form the quay’s new structures. To increase the lifetime of the new quay, Infrastructure Malta used specialised marine concrete and scheduled concrete works during hours with lower ambient temperatures that do not impact the casting and curing of the concrete. This precaution reduces the risk of cracking and eventual water ingress into the structure, leading to spalling of the concrete and faster deterioration of marine infrastructure.
The new quay has now been handed over to Transport Malta and the Gozo Channel Company Ltd, which runs the Cirkewwa-Mgarr ferry service, to become operational in the coming months.
Infrastructure Malta’s maritime team is currently implementing several other coastal infrastructure investments in Malta and Gozo. It has just completed a €2.5 million project to build new terminals for the new Gozo-Valletta fast ferry service which started operating on Tuesday, 1st June 2021. A short distance away from the new Cirkewwa quay, the agency is starting a €2.1 million reconstruction of the Marfa Breakwater.
In Marsaxlokk Harbour, the agency is upgrading the berthing pontoons in the area known as “Il-Maghluq”. After completing a new 110-metre breakwater to protect the inner part of this port earlier this year, the agency is also conducting preliminary studies to assess the possibility of constructing other similar structures to improve shelter at the Delimara side of this harbour.
Another project that will soon be ready is the €6 million upgrading of the quays, slipways and pontoons used by fishers in Gozo’s Mgarr Harbour. The agency’s contractors will install the last two of this project’s four new pontoons in the coming weeks. Other ongoing investments include the new landing facilities for passenger ferry services (water buses) from Sliema and Cospicua to Valletta, and the reconstruction of circa 600 metres of quays in the area known as Sally Port, in Vittoriosa, transforming a derelict site into a new promenade.
Towards the end of 2020, the agency also launched the €49.9 million Grand Harbour Clean Air Project, to develop shore power facilities for cruise liners and Ro-Ro cargo vessels while berthed in port. This investment will cut over 90% of the air pollution that these ships produce when visiting Malta.