[WATCH] Victoria lines restoration project enters second phase

The Victoria Lines are a complex network of linear fortifications that span across 12 kilometres from Madliena to Fomm ir-Riħ

The restoration of the Victoria lines has entered its second stage after the restoration of a stretch of the lines running the length of Ġnien l-Għarusa tal-Mosta was completed, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference announcing the second phase of the works, Bonnici said that the Restoration Directorate within his ministry was now continuing with the restoration works of the fortified walls in Għargħur, in the area known as Top of the World.

Built by the British military in the late 19th century, the Victoria Lines are a complex network of linear fortifications that span across 12 kilometres, from Madliena to Fomm ir-Riħ.

“This ongoing Restoration Directorate project will see to the restoration of these fortifications which are truly one of a kind in our country,” Bonnici said.  “In their purpose, ensemble of different elements, method of construction, and setting they represent a unique monument of local military architecture.”

The government’s strategy, he said, was to continue strengthening the country’s “local heritage” in order for “everyone to appreciate and have access to”.

Bonnici said that over the past months, the directorate had also carried out emergency repair works on two smaller stretches of the Victoria Lines at Binġemma, parts of which were either at risk of collapsing or had already collapsed.

The minister said the works at Għargħur will mainly “follow the intervention methodologies adopted over the past months at Mosta”. 

He said the works would in fact aim to address the most “critical situations, such as the consolidation of unstable areas, the reinstatement of clearly defined lacunas, the dismantling of visually intrusive repairs and their reconstruction in line with approved restoration practices.”

Details that can assist in the interpretation of the original setup of the entrenchment and parapet walls, such as, for example, the pointing of the uppermost original course wherever this is still in place, will also be executed. 

“As far as is feasible, throughout the reinstatement and reconstruction interventions stone blocks which formed part of the original building setup shall be used,” Bonnici said.  

“As was the case in Mosta, even at Għargħur, all attempts shall in fact be made to collect loose stone blocks, forming part of the original construction, from the underlying garigue/valley onto which they have collapsed through the years.” 

At Għargħur this intervention is rendered particularly difficult because of the considerable heights involved. 

To assist its employees in this hoisting operation, the minister said that the Restoration Directorate has specifically acquired a mini excavator. Long stretches of “lacunas” he said, shall be rebuilt using new stonework similar in size and configuration to the original stone blocks.

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