Valletta’s bulky arches to be replaced by slender foot bridges

The Great Harbour Regeneration Corporation is proposing the demolition of five existing arched bridges connecting a Valletta housing estate to Triq San Bastjan

The present arches formed part of the design of a new housing block which included five pedestrian concrete bridges aimed at facilitating access to Triq San Bastjan, disturbing the bastion’s fabric
The present arches formed part of the design of a new housing block which included five pedestrian concrete bridges aimed at facilitating access to Triq San Bastjan, disturbing the bastion’s fabric

The Great Harbour Regeneration Corporation is proposing the demolition of five existing arched bridges connecting a Valletta housing estate to Triq San Bastjan, opposite the area known as il-Fossa, in the lower part of Valletta.

The bridges, built in the 1970s, will be replaced with new slender footbridges and railings, which blend better with the historical bastions.

Using steel as the main structural element, the GHRC says the bridges’ depth will be kept relatively low
Using steel as the main structural element, the GHRC says the bridges’ depth will be kept relatively low

“This design and choice of material aims to create a better sense of space, clearly delineating the bastions and building forms,” the GHRC said in a description of the project in an application submitted by CEO Gino Cauchi.

Residents of the housing estate will also benefit from increased ventilation and better access to sunlight.

Using steel as the main structural element, the GHRC says the bridges’ depth will be kept relatively low. This allows the housing entrances to connect seamlessly to the street pavement without disturbing the fabric of the bastion.

The present arches formed part of the design of a new housing block which included five pedestrian concrete bridges aimed at facilitating access to Triq San Bastjan, disturbing the bastion’s fabric to make space for the concrete slabs. The bulkiness of these stone arches are considered an accretion to the bastion walls. Moreover, the sense of scale and volume was lost as the street is visually divided into segments because of the way the bridges were constructed.

The bridges’ shallow gradient and sagging have also resulted in the accumulation of storm water in the middle of the span. For this reason, makeshift holes were also cored through the slab to allow for water to drain. This has caused paving and slab damage.

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