Mosta business owners sue for revenue lost due to three years of ongoing roadworks

Legal action filed against Infrastructure Malta, Transport Malta, the Local Council, the Malta Tourism Authority, and Mosta mayor Christopher Grech over roadworks which have been ongoing since 2020

Mosta (File photo)
Mosta (File photo)

The owners of seven businesses based in Mosta’s main street have filed legal action over roadworks which have been ongoing there since 2020.

The court case was filed on 17 March against Infrastructure Malta, Transport Malta, the Local Council, the Malta Tourism Authority, as well as Mosta mayor Christopher Grech. It has been assigned to Mr. Justice Giovanni Grixti.

The 12 plaintiffs filed the application to the First Chamber of the Civil Court, demanding damages they claim to have suffered as a result of the roadworks in a stretch of Mosta’s Triq il-Kbira, stretching from the Ta' Qali area to Mosta’s square. The roadworks commenced in November 2020.

They accuse the authorities of deciding to start infrastructure works "without any logical or serious plan,” describing the works as being carried out “carelessly and shoddily” and complaining that they had suffered a substantial loss of earnings and damages as a result.

As a result of the "total lack of planning" of the infrastructural works, the road had to be dug up twice, the plaintiffs said.

According to reports, in August 2022, the newly laid asphalt that had been put in place for the titular feast of Santa Marija had to be dug up that same month, after heavy rain caused severe damage to the newly laid road surface.

The business owners had already filed judicial protests last year, in which they explained how some of the outlets had been damaged by the dust and debris clouds kicked up by the roadworks, with others having tiles broken and shopfronts damaged.

One of the shops had ended up flooded with sewage after street drains were disconnected by the contractors working on the road.

Their complaints about the infrastructure works had been ignored, they said.

In the court application, the plaintiffs said that despite the scale and importance of the project, the roadworks were being carried out by only two or three people, which was part of the reason for the delays, in addition to the "amateurish and negligent manner in which the work was planned, managed and executed."

They said that further evidence of this was the absence of an adequate traffic diversion plan for the duration of the works, together with the lack of contingency planning for the possibility of the works taking longer than expected.

The business owners said that despite the judicial protests they had filed in May and September 2022, the authorities had failed to act. Rather, they allege that the mayor had mocked two of the business owners, when they had gone to complain to him about the project’s negative impact on their business.

The sworn application filed before the First Hall of the Civil Court asks it to liquidate the damages they suffered and order that the defendants to also bear the costs of the judicial protests filed in May and September 2022.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Kris Busietta, Elaine Sammut and Karl Micallef signed the sworn application.