New Blata l-Bajda footbridge starts taking shape
Infrastructure Malta started lifting in place the first two sections of the 105-metre deck of the new Blata l-Bajda pedestrian and cycling bridge connecting Hamrun, Marsa and Floriana, on Friday night.
The agency’s contractors started transporting these 16-tonne, 23-metre steel structures to the site from a workshop at the former Malta Shipbuilding site in Marsa at around eight in the evening. They worked throughout the night and are continuing this morning until the two structures are secured in their final position atop the concrete abutments and pillars of this new bridge. The southbound carriageway of San Gorg Preca Road (the stretch of road connecting Nazzjonali Road, Floriana and Dicembru 13 Road, Marsa) was closed during these works. It will be reopened by noon on Saturday. The other three deck sections forming this structure will be brought to the area in a similar overnight operation in the coming weeks.
This new circular girder bridge will rise over San Gorg Preca Road, next to the MUSEUM Society headquarters, to connect Hamrun’s Il-Kbira San Guzepp (St Joseph High) Road with the Spencer Hill and the Menqa areas of Marsa, including the nearby ferry terminals and the Floriana Park and Ride facilities. It will provide a safer and quicker arterial road crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, replacing the existing pelican lights. The overpass will also create direct links between the five bus stops (Blata l-Bajda 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) located at either side of these busy arterial roads, making it easier for passengers to change buses on their way to and from many locations in the south of Malta.
The structure’s design incorporates gently sloping ramps, taking cyclists and pedestrians from Il-Kbira San Guzepp Road, Hamrun, over the southbound carriageway of San Gorg Preca Road towards the other side of the road at Marsa. The geometry of the footbridge aims to smoothly link both sides of the road, with minimal impact on the adjacent landscaped areas. The structure also includes passenger lifts and stairs, to ensure it is accessible and comfortable to everyone.
Infrastructure Malta’s contractors started fabricating the steel deck of this bridge during the second half of 2019. Meanwhile, at the project site they drilled 21 cores several storeys deep into the ground to cast the concrete piles serving as foundations for the bridge structures. These elements, including abutments, pillars, approach ramps, stairways and elevator shafts were also built during the last few months.
The Blata l-Bajda overpass project is a €2 million investment in safer spaces for alternative modes of travel, which may be part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union.
Earlier this year Infrastructure Malta announced plans to develop a new subway with improved facilities to replace the old pedestrian underpass connecting four of the most important bus stops of Malta’s public transport network at the Portes des Bombes area of Floriana, a short distance away from the new Blata l-Bajda bridge.
Another pedestrian and cycling overpass is currently under construction in L-Avjazzjoni (Aviation) Avenue, between Gudja and Luqa. This bridge will give pedestrians, bus passengers and cyclists safer links between these localities, the Malta International Airport and the Institute of Tourism Studies. Infrastructure Malta is currently finalising plans for a similar footbridge in Dom Mintoff Road, to create a safer pedestrian and cycling route between the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)’s main campus, the residential and industrial zones of Corradino and the centre of Paola.
Other new facilities encouraging walking and cycling are being developed as part of other ongoing Infrastructure Malta road projects, including the Central Link Project at Mriehel, Birkirkara, Balzan and Attard, the reconstruction of Hal Qormi Road, between Qormi and Luqa, the Santa Lucija Roundabout Underpass Project and the Marsa Junction Project, between Paola and Marsa.