One bidder shortlisted for Gozo-Malta tunnel project

Infrastructure Malta shortlists one bidder from those who registered interest in building the tunnel between Gozo and Malta

The proposed Gozo-Malta tunnel will offer a permanent road link between both islands
The proposed Gozo-Malta tunnel will offer a permanent road link between both islands

Updated at 4:17pm with Nationalist Party statement 

Infrastructure Malta has shortlisted one bidder from the four who submitted their interest in building a tunnel between Gozo and Malta.

On Tuesday, the Times of Malta reported that only one bidder had made it past the first round. The chosen bidder is a consortium of five companies, including the UK’s Equitix, Japanese company Itochu, Turkish companies Yapi Merkezi and Makyol, and French company Egis.

Rival bidders Malta-Gozo Fixed Link Limited, Salini Impregilo SpA and CGYI Malta-Gozo consortium, were eliminated.

The appeals period closes on 20 September.

The Gozo-Malta tunnel project includes the development of a 14-kilometre subsea road link between the two islands. According to Infrastructure Malta, the road will accommodate two vehicle lanes, one in each direction and a wide central buffer with additional space for emergency vehicles.

The entry points for the projected tunnel are outside Nadur on the Gozo side and l-Imbordin in the outskirts of St Paul's Bay.

The agency has so far conducted nine studies, including preliminary geophysical and geological investigations based on land and seabed core samples extracted along the proposed tunnel route.

The tunnel is a government electoral pledge and received bipartisan backing in parliament.

The chosen consortium is made up of Equitix, a UK-based equity firm that specialises in infrastructure investment; Itochu, a Japanese company, involved in international trade in machinery, metals, energy, textiles and other commodities; Turkish construction companies Yapi Merkezi and Makyol that specialise in large infrastructure projects, including tunnels; and Egis, a construction and engineering company that is a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts, a French public sector financial institution.

PN statement 

In a statement on Tuesday, the Nationalist Party said that it was Infrastructure Malta’s duty to publish all details submitted by the consortium.

The party said that Infrastructure Malta should also provide full details on what led to the elimination of the other three consortia that submitted their interest.

“The public has a right to know what kind of permanent link is being proposed by this consortium. This together with other important details such as how it proposes to finance this project and whether the necessary studies on the environmental, social and economic impacts have been carried out by experts in all related fields and if so, what was their outcome,” the PN said.

The party also argued that those studies carried out should be published and explained to the public. "If the government doesn't carry out, publish and explain these studies, it is abdicating its responsibility to the people.”