A tunnel link between Malta and Gozo could soon become a reality with four bidders passing the first test to win the lucrative contract.
Those in the running will now face significant scrutiny to be able to make it to a final two and kick off discussions with the state to get ambitious plans approved.
Whoever wins will have complete control over the concession for the tunnel link, earning all the income of the tolls at the expense of funding the massive project.
The four bidders have finally been revealed, so Lovin Malta took a closer look at the candidates for the money-making concession:
1.Salini Impregilo S.p. A
An Italian industrial group that specialises in construction and civil engineering. Headquartered in Milan, Salini Impregilo is the largest Italian engineering and general contractor group and a global player in the industry.
The company is active in over 50 countries spread on five continents with more than 35,000 workers.
Its got experience from the construction of dams and hydroelectric plants to roads, motorways, railways, metro systems, and even hospitals.
2.Equitix – Itochu – Yapi Merkezi – Makyol – Egis Consortium
A multinational consortium of companies from across the globe have come together to bid for the lucrative project.
It’s made up of UK (Equitix), Japanese (Itochu), Turkish (Yapi Merkezi, Maykol), and France (Egis).
Itochu is one of the world’s biggest companies, ranking 215th on Fortune’s Global 500 list in 2017, generating an annual revenue of
They got significant experience in the field too with Egis Group and Yapi Merkez, involved in significant infrastructure within their respective countries.
3.Malta Gozo Fixed Link Limited
Only one of the four bidders is registered on the Malta Business Registry, and it’s led by the Chetcuti family, behind Hugo’s chain fame.
The Hugo’s brand is typically associated with hospitality with their hotels and clubs lining the Paceville strip.
Unlike its competitors, its experience in such large scale projects is minimal. However, they must have shown some capabilities to get the project finished and pass the initial test.
4. CGYI Malta Gozo Consortium
A mystery. Searches online yield few results for the final bidder. Little is known about the consortium. However, it is undoubtedly foreign run. Infrastructure Malta head Frederick Azzopardi said the Chetcuti’s were the only Malta-registered company.
So what are the plans?
According to documents published earlier this year, the tunnel is to have a life above 120 years and will have to cater for a minimum of 9,000 vehicles per day.
Of this total, 5% have to be heavy vehicles, with access to bicycles and pedestrians to be forbidden.
The tunnel will be 14 kilometres long with two separate lanes in either direction and with each measuring 3.5 metres wide.
Other specifications include a minimum headroom of five metres, a 70 km/h speed limit and a series of lay-bys at 500-metre intervals. Additionally, the tunnel cannot be out of operation for more than 200 hours per year for maintenance purposes and will operate on a 24/7 basis.
The tunnel route is recommended not to pass through St Paul’s Bay or Ċirkewwa due to heavy traffic in that area. Preliminary plans had indicated that the entrances and exits for the tunnel would be in Imbordin l/o Mġarr in Malta and on the outskirts of Nadur in Gozo.