Tunnels and flyover for airport roundabout upgrade
Infrastructure Malta is upgrading the Gudja roundabout to a multi-level intersection with two tunnels and a flyover, for improved access to the Kirkop Tunnels, Gudja, the Malta International Airport and the Malta Freeport.
The Kirkop Tunnels and Airport Intersection Project (KTAIP) includes the redevelopment of this critical junction of the Maltese road network to reduce travel times and accident risks to commuters travelling through the Kirkop Tunnels, to and from Kirkop, Mqabba, Qrendi, Zurrieq and Safi. It will also improve access to the Malta International Airport and to the main route to the Malta Freeport, two strategic locations for several sectors of the Maltese economy.
The Gudja roundabout is a crossroads of several arterial roads, including L-Avjazzjoni Avenue, to and from Luqa, Marsa and Qormi, Dawret il-Gudja Road, towards Gudja and Ghaxaq, Hal Far Road, to and from Hal Far, the freeport and Birzebbuga and L-Ewwel Titjira Road, which links the roundabout with the Kirkop Tunnels. It also includes Il-Karwija Road, leading to the airport.
This project will transform the roundabout into a grade-separated intersection with direct connections to and from the different routes converging at this junction. At the lower level, two new tunnels beneath the roundabout will create a direct link between the southbound and northbound carriageways of L-Avjazzjoni Avenue and Hal Far Road. These tunnels will allow road users, including heavy vehicles, travelling to and from the Airport, Birzebbuga, the Freeport and the Hal Far Industrial Zone, to bypass the roundabout.
At grade, the existing roundabout will be rebuilt in an improved design to facilitate access to and from Gudja and Ghaxaq. The existing bypass lane for northbound travel from the Kirkop Tunnels to L-Avjazzjoni Avenue will be improved to continue cutting journey times along this route as well.
The third level of the intersection will incorporate a new flyover bridging the southbound carriageway of L-Avjazzjoni Avenue with L-Ewwel Titjira Road, towards the Kirkop Tunnels. Commuters heading to Kirkop, Mqabba, Qrendi, Zurrieq and Safi will no longer need to go through the roundabout to get to the Kirkop Tunnels.
By channelling three of the routes currently connected through the roundabout to the underpass and overpass lanes, Infrastructure Malta is reducing roundabout conflicts and the resulting collision risks and waiting times for thousands of road users who use this junction every day.
Through the KTAIP, Infrastructure Malta will also develop more facilities for alternative modes of travel. In fact, the new intersection design includes new footpaths and improved public transport amenities. The project also comprises new safe cycle routes that will complement the cycle lane opened at L-Avjazzjoni Avenue last year and the cycling and pedestrian overpass that the agency is currently constructing along the same thoroughfare. The roundabout’s new design will include facilities for safer pedestrian and cycling crossings.
This week Infrastructure Malta submitted the project plans to the Planning Authority, to set the required permitting process in motion. The Authority will publish these plans for public consultation and for further studies in upcoming stages of this process. In the meantime, the agency will soon issue a call for offers to engage the road building services required for this new junction. This investment may be co-financed through the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility.
The project is scheduled to start being implemented in 2020, as part of Infrastructure Malta’s ongoing optimisation of the arterial road network for more road safety, reduced travel times and increased sustainability. In 2019, the agency is investing €64 million in more than 14 arterial road upgrades. They include the first flyovers of the Marsa Junction Project, the reconstruction of Buqana Road, Tal-Balal Road, Luqa Road, Qormi Road and San Tumas Road, the development of new pedestrian and cycling overpass structures at Blata l-Bajda and L-Avjazzjoni Avenue, and Malta’s first segregated bi-directional cycle track at L-Ahhar Hbit mit-Torok Road, between Zabbar and Zejtun.