Transport Minister Ian Borg has downplayed concerns that the ongoing roadworks are to blame for the two deadly traffic accidents last weekend.
“I must emphasise that neither incident had anything to do with the roadworks,” Borg told a conference this morning. “Magisterial inquires into both cases are ongoing, but I must urge everyone to maintain a sense of civic responsibility on the roads because our actions and inactions risk our own lives and that of other road users.”
In a Facebook status, Borg hit out at people who have pointed the finger of blame in his direction
“Why do people in this country have to try and take political mileage out of a deadly car crash?” he asked.
On Saturday night, 23-year-old Laura Paffenholz was run over by a truck driver after her boyfriend lost control of his motorbike while driving by the Addolorata Cemetery. The motorbike rider allegedly lost his balance after encountering gravel and rocks in the road which forms part of the major Marsa Junction project.
Then, last night, 53-year-old Graziella Mallia and her 33-year-old daughter Fallon Mallia died following a collision between two vehicles by the roundabout connecting Mġarr and Mosta. According to ONE News, one of the drivers involved was driving in the wrong direction.
A number of people pinned the blame on the ongoing roadworks, particularly seeing as a Ferrari driver had crashed his car on the same site a day earlier. However, others questioned whether the drivers were abiding by the 30km/h speed limit for construction sites.
As luck would have it, Borg was this morning scheduled to address a conference on the ongoing roadworks in light of an analysis that was carried out by economist Gordon Cordina.
Cordina’s studies found that a €141 million investment by the government in seven major road projects will ultimately see the country reap €1.2 billion in economic benefits.
This is due to an estimated total of five million hours of saved travelling time per year, €25 million savings in fuel expenses and 62,000 tonnes fewer carbon dioxide emissions.
“These projects will provide us with safer roads, allow us to spend more time with our families [due to less traffic] and make a positive economic difference,” Borg said.
However, he admitted that road interventions are but a link in a chain in addressing Malta’s notorious traffic problems and said the government will have to take “tough decisions”, such as with regards mass transport proposals.
Cover photo: Left: Graziella and Fallon Mallia, Centre: Transport Minister Ian Borg, Right: Laura Paffenholz