Concrete used in the pedestrian bridge at the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal has deteriorated and needs to be replaced, just six years after it was first inaugurated, a technical report has found.  

The report, conducted by UK engineering firm CTP Consulting, was commissioned by Transport Malta to carry out an inspection of the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal back in May 2018. A final report was handed over in April. 

Cracks along one of the columns that holds the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal.Cracks along one of the columns that holds the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal.

The bridge, which provides pedestrian access from the terminal building to the Gozo ferry, was part of a €10 million EU-funded terminal project.  

Built by Polidano Group and completed in 2012, it was inaugurated just before the 2013 election.

A source at the authority said the report had been commissioned after staff at the terminal had started complaining of “slabs of concrete falling off the underside of the bridge”. 

Transport Malta has reached out to contractor Charles Polidano in a bid to find an amicable solution.  

Lovin Malta reported on Saturday that the authorities submitted a judicial letter against the contractor, the architect and project manager.

Meanwhile, according to the CTP technical report seen by Times of Malta, although the bridge is only a few years old, the concrete is already showing serious signs of deterioration, with visible cracking, patches coming loose as well as hollow areas in the structure.

Visible cracking, patches coming loose

The concrete used on the bridge’s columns was poorer than that used in the rest of the structure, tests found.

Concrete testing, the report says, had also identified instances of carbonation, which happens when air seeps into the concrete through pores and weakens it. 

The report recommends that in the short term, the hollow-sounding concrete should be removed and a new layer added to stop the carbonation. 

In the longer term, the report recommends that a detailed structural analysis of the terminal bridge be carried out to assess the extent of the damage and its impact on the structure’s weight-carrying capacity.  

The most comprehensive long-term measure, however, is to replace the concrete in the bridge’s columns, possibly using steel.

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