HomeInfra €10 million ferry tunnel under Valletta to be functional by 2018

[WATCH] €10 million ferry tunnel under Valletta to be functional by 2018

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€10 million ferry tunnel under Valletta to be functional by 2018

AX Holdings chairman Anglu Xuereb said today that a proposed ferry tunnel underneath Valletta to link Sliema to the three cities aims to be completed by summer 2017 and to be functional by 2018, in time for the city becoming the European Capital for Culture.

Speaking about the €10 million project, Xuereb said that he was confident that the project would be completed 18 months after the conclusion of government agreements was completed, and he added that he hoped the necessary permits would be out in as short a time as possible to allow the public to benefit from this measure.

The company’s finance director Michael Warrington said that the project had been developed according to the initial recommendations for the project, to meet the needs of consumers throughout the year without negatively impacting the rich cultural heritage in the area.

“The new system will see the already operating ferry services from Sliema to Valletta, and from Valletta to the three cities, but it will give commuters the possibility to travel straight from Sliema to the three cities and vice versa,” he said, explaining that the tunnel will through Valletta from near Marsamxetto harbour near the water polo pitch, running all the way underneath Valletta and exiting near Lascaris Wharf.

Warrington explained that the trip from Sliema to the three cities was expected to take some 20 minutes and that

Xuereb also explained that the project was a result of extensive research to ensure it wouldn’t negatively impact any heritage sites.

“The tunnel,” he said, “will be 7m wide and it will have a system of traffic lights to make sure that only one boat passes at a time,” he added.

He also explained that the Ax group has signed an agreement with the Marsamxetto Steamferry services, current operators of the Sliema- Valletta ferry services to invest in key aspects like high functionality and efficient and professional services.

He added that the technical engineers chosen for the project were AIG projects, who also helped to design the 14km underground tunnels for the Msida flood relief project.

Transport minister Joe Mizzi said that the project announced today was a fulfillment of the government’s promise to provide alternatives to transport and to reduce emissions generated by transport. 

“The traffic problem has deteriorated over the years,” he said adding that many people depended on their cars regardless of the quality of public transport, leading the government to seek out other alternatives.

He further expressed his support for the project and hoped that the project would be completed as soon as possible.

Mizzi added that good connections are essential to economic growth of the areas, with the ferry hopefully generating other projects on either side of the port like shuttle services and car parks developed to compliment services.

 “Our aim is to keep the service running on the early hours of the morning to allow people to use the service even at night,” Xuereb also added.

Speaking about the importance of Public Privare Partnerships, Energy minister Konrad Mizzi said that Projects Malta had chosen the project and ensured that it was sustainable and economically viable.

“This is an all weather solution,” he said adding that it was projected to have over 1.5 million passengers over the first 10 years.

He added that the project would help frequent travellers and even offer tourists more options to travel and view different areas.

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