Badly parked cars, rough weather conditions and old infrastructure are just some of the reasons holes are appearing in Maltese pavements.
After a Floriana resident fell into a hole on New Year’s Day, the Floriana Local Council spoke to Lovin Malta about what’s leading to collapses in public pavements – and also what you can do to avoid damaging them further.
“Firstly, we are sorry for what happened to Mr Tufigno, and wish him good health!” Godwin Azzopardi, executive officer at the Floriana Local Council, told Lovin Malta.
“The pavement hole in question comes from a series of concrete slabs covering rain water and services culverts stretching along a good part of Crucifix Hill, on either side. The local council acknowledges that some are deteriorated owing to their age, some worse than others, and that we continuously replace damaged ones,” Azzopardi said.
When it came to the above hole – which is found on Crucifix Hill – Azzopardi said it hadn’t been there for too long.
“None of the broken culvert coverings would have been broken for weeks, as we affect replacements/repairs at the earliest, upon being flagged. Regular maintenance and upkeep is also carried out by Transport Malta,” he said.
However, the cost of repairing these pavements is problematic for some councils.
“The ideal scenario would be to replace them all,” he continued.
“However this comes at no small cost, on a road which is strictly not residential, hence why it might not be the council’s priority (though we also acknowledge the hazard in question),” he said, while emphasising that the council would be requesting meetings with the relevant public entities on the best way to deal with issues arising at Crucifix Hill.
However, Azzopardi wanted to take the opportunity to urge drivers to be more careful when parking their cars in these older localities.
“The primary cause of this kind of damage are vehicles which park on the pavement. These culvert coverings are not designed to withstand heavy weight, and the issue is made worse by heavy vehicles, particularly coaches, with the road being so close to the Cruise liner Terminal,” he said.
“Floriana is a perfect textbook example of a small, historical, residential locality which has to cope with major traffic influx and business concerns.”
“Parkers who ostensibly park their vehicles on pavements raise hazards for pedestrians, and also cause damage to pavements, which remedial works come at no small cost. And in the case of damage in Floriana, this is also extended to third parties, particularly gratings, as under pavements in residential areas often lie private basements,” he concluded.
With people literally falling into holes appearing on pavements, and with more investment needed to ensure they are safe, people will need to keep their eyes on where they are walking for the time being, especially if Maltese drivers don’t change their parking ways anytime soon.