No answers in Parliament on ‘phantom road tunnel’ crucial for db project

Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina was left none the wiser on a proposed road tunnel beneath Pembroke after raising the matter in Parliament

Pembroke residents protested against the db project for the ITS site
Pembroke residents protested against the db project for the ITS site

Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina received no replies on the construction of a tunnel to the ITS site in St George’s Bay when he raised Pembroke residents’ concerns in Parliament.

The tunnel, which is deemed crucial by the Environment and Resources Authority to mitigate the additional traffic that will be generated by the project, is supposed to connect the St George’s Bay area to the Coast Road so that traffic will not pass through Pembroke.

Aquilina said nobody is able to say when the tunnel will be built and who will finance it.

It was described as “a phantom road tunnel” by Graffitti activist Andre Callus during a consultation meeting organised by the developer for residents last week. Residents are opposed to the project and protested against it last week.

Aquilina asked Roads Minister Ian Borg multiple times in Parliament this evening on plans for the tunnel but received nebulous replies.

The PN MP said he was against the massive project that will see a 37-storey residential tower flanked by a hotel on the site formerly occupied by the tourism school.

Aquilina was speaking on changes to the law intended to offer better protection for the environment.

He referred to the consultation meeting last week and said it should have been held much earlier. Aquilina said the meeting left residents with many unanswered questions.

MaltaToday reported that the contract through which the land was transferred to the db Group states clearly that the government has to “undertake at its sole cost, risk, legal and financial liability” the “required improvements to the road and utilities infrastructure leading to the site”.

The db Group’s City Centre project will consist of 162 apartments, a hotel, Malta’s largest shopping mall and a casino.

READ ALSO: How the db City Centre project will change St Julian's skyline

Together with other projects earmarked in St George’s Bay, and primarily the approved Villa Rosa project, the development is expected to increase the flow of traffic to the area by an average of 7,000 daily car trips.

Traffic impact studies have shown that present-day road junctions cannot cope with this increase in traffic. This has made the development of a tunnel mandatory and this is being assessed as part of the City Centre’s planning application. But government remains vague on its plans for the tunnel project.

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