Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 August, 2023 at 11:51 am by Andre Camilleri
The road works in St. Andrew’s Road for the Pembroke Junction Project are scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2024, Infrastructure Malta has told this newsroom.
The infrastructural arrangements shall cover the area between the Greens Supermarket and the Pembroke traffic lights both found in the main road.
The allocated budget for this project is circa €4 million. Infrastructure Malta also said that they are positive that this project will be delivered on time and within the €4 million budget. It is hoped that these added hairpin turns alleviate the often constricted traffic flow through the nearby Swieqi bottleneck.
When asked why these works are just starting today, IM stated that is standard practice for them to plan ahead; referencing the Msida Creek project as an example – which had its works tender published just last Friday – the first permits for that project were first submitted back in 2020. The initial application permits for the Pembroke Junction project were submitted back in 2019, according to signage noted in St. Andrew’s Road itself.
The project will consist of the creation of two hairpin turns, which Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon said should improve traffic flow from both the northern and southern directions. Originally, plans were for a 1.5km tunnel connecting the Coast Road to St. George’s Bay, however Falzon said that it is no longer happening. He also said, however, that Infrastructure Malta has plans to update the Paceville junction, in front of Pendergardens, in the next few years.
Speaking to Times of Malta during this period two months ago, Pembroke mayor Dean Hili criticized the plans by calling them short-sighted and only fit for today’s traffic issues, rather than for the long-term. Environmental NGOs were also against the original plans for the area due to concerns about disturbing a Natura 2000 site in Pembroke; an underground tunnel was originally intended to pass right underneath this site, before plans for the major project were shelved.
Announcing the official start to the works just a day in advance on Transport Malta’s Facebook page, criticisms were quickly received by the general public, questioning what the traffic situation in the area will look like once the school term recommences as Pembroke is host to twelve schools. Backlash was also received by comments from the public with many people expressing their frustration for the authorities to finish ongoing road projects around the country before commencing new ones.
The government body has advised that all traffic streaming from Pembroke and into St. Julian’s will remain unaffected throughout these works.
Moreover, Transport Malta announced which areas traffic flow is to be affected and from which directions. Moving from St. Julian’s to Pembroke, drivers are being instructed to continue driving straight along St. Andrew’s Road and to turn into the village through Triq Suffolk.
For motorists travelling from Pembroke into Swieqi, the route has been updated to direct vehicles towards the Pembroke Park and Ride to then pass through Triq Dun G. Farrugia before integrating back into St Andrew’s.
For those commuting into the area from Coast Road towards Pembroke, they have been told to take the first exit at the roundabout junction by Triq il-Prekursur.
Transport Malta also stated to have reprogrammed the traffic lights in the area accordingly. Meanwhile, members of their enforcement team have been sent to the area to “minimize any potential inconvenience”.