Malta’s newest road project has just been unveiled, and it’s a multi-level junction just down the road from the airport.
Infrastucture Malta unveiled the plans for what it’s dubbed the Luqa Junction Project earlier this morning, showing what will happen to the existing roundabout connecting Qormi, Marsa, Luqa and Gudja in a number of video clips and photomontages.
One of the major routes to and from the airport, the roundabout will make way for a a 220-metre flyover connecting Qormi and Luqa to Gudja and Kirkop.
Meanwhile, a 60-metre long, 5.5-metre deep underpass connecting the Qormi and Marsa directions will flow right under the flyover and the current roundabout.
Beyond this, dedicated lanes to and from each direction will “open up direct, uninterrupted links between three arterial roads, including San Tumas Road towards Qormi, Il-Kunsill tal-Ewropa Road from Santa Luċija and Marsa, and L-Avjazzjoni Avenue, which leads to Gudja, Birċebbuġa, the Kirkop Tunnels, the Airport and the Freeport”, Infrastructure Malta elaborated.
“The project will also see the transformation of the vast area currently occupied by the large roundabout into approximately 5,900 metres squared of open spaces, most of which will become public recreational areas landscaped with footpaths, trees and monumental artworks, with easy pedestrian access from the centre of Luqa,” a IM statement reads. “Luqa Junction Project also incorporates a new segregated cycling and pedestrian path along part of Il-Kunsill tal-Ewropa Road, which will be adjoined to existing cycle lanes and footpaths in L-Avjazzjoni Avenue.”
The Luqa roundabout is currently hitting over 15,000 road users every hour during the morning and afternoon peaks, with IM saying this is “beyond its capacity”.
Queues and traffic jams are the order of the day in the area, with IM saying the existing junction has become “a major conflict point, causing delays and congestion emissions in Luqa and nearby locaitons”.
This project is set to be replicated just 500 metres up the road, with the Airport roundabout currently penned for a similar upgrade.
The Kirkop Tunnels and Airport Intersection Project (which is scheduled to commence later this year) will actually be working hand-in-hand with the Luqa Junction Project, IM said, with the combination of the two projects expected to reduce travel times by up to 74% in all directions. “These two projects are also effectively removing two accident black spots by ending roundabout conflicts and by introducing safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists,” IM continued.
Most of the project – which is planned to kick off in 2021 – will be built within the footprint of the existing roundabout and the roads leading to it… but a strip of about 2,000 metres square of new land will be rquired.
This strip along the westbound carriageway of Il-Kunsill tal-Ewropa Road will be required for the development of the new segregated cycling and pedestrian track.
Infrastructure Malta is currently consulting several stakeholders to discuss and augment the project’s benefits, and has not ruled out the possibility that both the Luqa Junction Project and the Kirkop Tunnels & Airport Intersection Project are co-financed through the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility.