Malta’s first segregated bi-directional cycle track with an asphalt surface is nearing completion as Transport Minister Ian Borg announced it will be opening soon.
The lane is part of Triq l-Aħħar Ħbit mit-Torok, formerly named Triq Bormla or taċ-Ċawsli, the Maltese name for the rows of mulberry trees along its sides.
Through this €4 million project, the Government is reconstructing this 1.3 kilometre main road link between Żabbar and Żejtun, which had been left in a state of disrepair for decades.
The road formerly had a dual carriageway, with two southbound lanes and one northbound lane.
The new design incorporates the existing historic mulberry trees, and includes a two-lane single carriageway road, with one vehicle lane in each direction and a segregated bi-directional cycle track and footpath, to provide easier alternative transport connections between the two localities.
The project also includes a segregated paved footpath, the introduction of an energy-efficient street lighting system, three pelican pedestrian crossings and safer bus lay-bys for public transport.
While the new vehicle carriageway was constructed and temporarily opened in one direction earlier this year, Infrastructure Malta is now completing the segregated cycle track. After building its foundations, the cycle track’s asphalt surface started being laid this week.
This will be Malta’s first segregated bi-directional cycle track with an asphalt surface
In the past, the few segregated cycle tracks ever built were not wide enough to be used bi-directionally, and had a surface made of concrete or paving tiles. Asphalt-surfaced segregated cycle tracks offer bicycle commuters the same riding experience as when travelling on the main carriageways, yet, in a safer car-free lane reserved exclusively for walking or cycling.
Similar cycle tracks are being planned in several other ongoing and upcoming projects being implemented. The Central Link Project, which will see the reconstruction of the arterial road corridor between Mrieħel and Ta’ Qali, will introduce Malta’s longest segregated bi-directional cycle track, extending all the way from Mrieħel (Malta Financial Services Authority offices area) to Ta’ Qali to connect Birkirkara, Balzan and Attard.
Through a new underpass, this cycle track will also be safely connected to the Mrieħel Industrial Zone
Another segregated cycle track extending from Gudja to Santa Luċija, Paola and Marsa is being developed through two separate projects. The first section is currently being built as part of the reconstruction of Triq Luqa in Santa Lucija.
The rest of the track, from Santa Luċija to Marsa, will be built as part of the Santa Luċija roundabout tunnels project, starting later this year. Other segregated cycle tracks are also being constructed as part of the ongoing project to rebuild Triq Ħal Qormi and Triq San Tumas, between Qormi and Luqa and Triq il-Buqana, between Mosta and Mtarfa. The Marsa Junction Project will also include over 1.6 kilometres of cycle lanes and cycle paths.