Asphalt spilt in Qirda valley during works to widen road near fireworks factory

During widening of valley road leading to fireworks factory, truck carrying asphalt falls down field after ridge collapsed 

Asphalt used for the resurfacing of a country lane outside a fireworks factory was spilled in a nearby field in Wied Qirda, Zebbug, after the truck carrying it accidentally overturned on the side of the road.

Images showing the hot tarmac spilled on the field made the rounds on social media, with Zebbug local councillor Steve Zammit Lupi hitting out at the works in question. The truck had to be taken out of the field with a crane.

Zammit Lupi claimed the road – which leads to a fireworks factory – was being widened without a permit, something roads agency Infrastructure Malta has contested.

“The road’s width has been trebled, and rare flowers and carob tree branches have been removed in the process. The truck fell into the field after the ridge collapsed,” Zammit Lupi said, who reported the case to the Environment and Resources Authority, who inspected the scene together with a Lands Department official and a police inspector.

“We have demanded that these works are stopped immediately and an investigation takes place. Wied Qirda has always been in deleterious state but these works throw salt in the wound.”

On its part, Infrastructure Malta said the ongoing works were part of the resurfacing of countryside roads used mainly by farmers to access their agricultural lands.

“The road was earmarked for resurfacing in 2018. Parts of it were completed earlier this year and last year. Works include the removal of the existing tarmacked surface, repairs to its foundations and the laying of a narrow strip of new asphalt,” a spokesperson said.

“The countryside road in question has been used as a public road for many years. In fact, the land in question is subject to an expropriation initiated over two decades ago,” the IM spokesperson said when asked by MaltaToday whether surfacing was being carried out over roads that were not publicly owned.

“The repair and maintenance works in this road are being carried out in accordance with an applicable Transport Malta road works permit. Before this permit was issued, the Authority consulted several stakeholders, including the Zebbug Local Council. There were no objections to the repair and resurfacing of this road,” the spokesperson said.

The damage to the road structure caused by the accident will be repaired in the coming weeks. Once these repairs are ready, all debris and asphalt on the side of the road will be cleaned. “Infrastructure Malta is working to complete these road works as soon as possible, whilst ensuring to minimise any impact on nearby agricultural lands and the nearby valley,” the spokesperson said.

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