Infrastructure Malta upgrades 100 rural roads in 2021
Infrastructure Malta invested €12.5 million to improve 100 rural roads in 2021.
Many of these countryside roads had been left without adequate maintenance for many years. As old asphalt and concrete surfaces deteriorated, they became unsafe to farmers and residents, and to others who use these quiet routes for walking, running and cycling. Road users also choose rural roads as an alternative to the residential and arterial road network, to get from one place to another using different modes of transport.
Infrastructure Malta used 46,400 tonnes of asphalt and concrete to complete the 37 kilometres of rural roads it rebuilt or resurfaced in 2021. The new surfaces have stronger foundations, for longer-lasting infrastructure that can adequately support the weight of heavy agricultural machinery and other vehicles. Where possible, Infrastructure Malta is also introducing stormwater catchments and road gutters, to reduce flooding risks and storm damages. In agreement with farmers, some stormwater catchments are connected to nearby agricultural reservoirs.
When resurfacing rural roads in areas of ecological importance, Infrastructure Malta ensures that road works are limited to the footprint of pre-existing paved areas. In some cases, in consultation with the environmental authorities, the new surfaces are separated from roadside flora and rubble walls with a narrow unpaved space. While this measure may make a road look unfinished, it helps to preserve its rural landscape and encourage the growth of pollinator plants. Infrastructure Malta is also working with the Environment and Resources Authority to research and test new, environment-friendly paving materials that can be adopted for the surfaces of these roads in the future.
After consulting the applicable utilities, Infrastructure Malta installed 41.5 kilometres of new underground networks in the rural roads it upgraded in 2021. They include water mains, Internet and other telecommunication ducts, as well as electricity cables to replace aerial lines. The agency is also working with the Water Services Corporation to lay many new pipelines for polished reclaimed water, which farmers started using for sustainable crop irrigation a few years ago.
Since it was established in 2018, Infrastructure Malta completed works in 330 countryside roads in more than 30 different localities. The rebuilding or resurfacing of another 22 rural roads is currently in progress, while works in several others are planned for the coming months.