New proposal for road linking Zabbar to Smart City

Existing pathways to be widened, but proposal includes 155-stretch passing through agricultural land

Transport Malta has presented new plans for the creation of new road linking Żabbar to Smart City, which mostly involves widening existing footpaths in close vicinity to the Cottonera lines and other fortifications in the area.

The roadworks will take place over an extensive 80,000sq.m tract of land from the Notre Dame Gate in Zabbar, passing along the fortifications of the Cottonera Lines, then crossing towards Kalkara, passing by the Capuchin Convent and extending towards Smart City.

Existing pathways which will make way for new road
Existing pathways which will make way for new road

The most drastic change involves the creation of a completely new road link from the area near St Louis Bastion, extending northeast to meet with the road overlooking the Capuchin Convent.

This stretch presently includes agricultural land, trees and thick rubble walls over a 155m stretch and an area of approximately 3,200sq.m.

The agreement with Smart City on the relocation of the American University of Malta campus from Żonqor, includes an obligation on government to construct a new connection road linking Bieb is-Sultan in Żabbar, to the Capuchin’s convent in Kalkara.

The latest proposal largely spares agricultural land in other areas and represents a sharp departure from a proposed 643m-long road proposed in 2007, which would have involved the take up of 14,500sq.m of agricultural land.

As proposed, the road will consist of a single lane in each direction and in most areas will have a width of 12.6m, including two 1.3m-wide footpaths and a 3m-wide cycle land.


How the new road will connect Zabbar to Smart City

The first part of the proposed road covers the area surrounding the Żabbar Notre Dame Gate leading from Żabbar towards Cospicua.

The plans propose the conversion of the existing path starting in the Tal-Fata area and proceeding along the Cottonera lines into an actual road with its associated infrastructure including cycle paths and bus lanes.

The path is located within the glacis of the Cottonera Lines, including St James Bastion and St Louis Bastion.

While the glacis from Notre Dame Gate along St James Bastion and St James Gate is mostly disturbed and already concreted, the ditch is still visible along the stretch of St James Gate while the ditch and glacis are more preserved along the stretch of St Louis Bastion.

Part of the road which will link St Louis Bastion and Capuchin convent
Part of the road which will link St Louis Bastion and Capuchin convent

The second part of the project involves a new road linking St Louis Bastion and the Capuchin convent. The last part of the road links the Capuchin Convent to Smart City

The proposal along this stretch is limited to the widening of the existing already-formed road network. The stretch along Triq il-Missjoni Taljana is located at a distance of 30m from a buffer Zone for the protected cart ruts.

The Environment and Resources Authority is still screening the project and has asked TM to present a project development statement to determine whether an Environment Impact Assessment is required. In its preliminary submissions ERA recommended that the new road connecting Triq Trejqet ta’ Fata and Triq Liberata should follow the existing contours as much as possible “in order to minimize impact on the rural landscape”. It has also called for the removal of the new road which is planned to bypass the proposed roundabout at Triq il-Missjoni Taljana.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage is still analysing the plans. But any works approved close to the fortifications are to be monitored and subject to a bank guarantee.