Motorists are being forced to manoeuvre dangerously around the numerous potholes that developed in a number of areas after heavy rains hit over the weekend.

Birkirkara, Gżira and Ta’ Xbiex were among the localities where the roads sustained most damage.

Drivers passing through the Infetti area in Birkirkara were forced to slow down to a halt or at times even to drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid damaging their cars.

Hazard ahead: one of the deep potholes that formed after the latest heavy rains. Photos: Matthew MirabelliHazard ahead: one of the deep potholes that formed after the latest heavy rains. Photos: Matthew Mirabelli

In Gżira, most notably around Testaferrata Street, the busy link road leading to Sliema, a similar situation was reported. The number of gaping potholes throughout the notoriously-potholed street meant drivers had no option but to swerve across from one side of the road to the other, at times slowing down to allow traffic coming from the opposite direction to pass.

A Transport Malta spokesman told this newspaper that road maintenance in the different localities fell within the remit of the local councils and due to limited funds, the asphalting material was often of inferior quality.

When the transport watchdog carried out road maintenance, he said, it would use hot asphalt, which could withstand heavy rainfall. This was not always the case when maintenance work was carried out by the local council.

Meanwhile, those passing through Ta’ Xbiex were pleasantly surprised to find that a pothole in Abate Rigard Street, which leads to Mamma Mia restaurant, had been repaired within a few hours. The material used, however, was not hot asphalt. By this morning, the road still felt uneven in several parts.

While flooding was reported in several areas over the weekend, mainly in Msida, Birkirkara and the road from Mosta to Iklin, the Meteorological Office said the thunderstorms and heavy rain were not abnormal weather conditions for this time of year.

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Why did the Coast Road flood?

After photos of a section of the recently-opened Coast Road were widely circulated on social media and showed it flooded after the storm on Saturday night, many have questioned how it was possible for this to happen to a newly-constructed road.

But Transport Malta found that construction debris from the site, which is close to the Salina salt pans, as well as soil from the nearby fields and plastic barriers, had blocked the storm water catch-pits.

The floodwater was cleared very quickly, a spokesman for the transport watchdog said. He added works were still being carried out in some areas of the road and in this case, the contractor had not yet completely cleared the debris.

“Although asphalting works are now complete, the road remains a construction site, with various ongoing works.”

Asked whether precautions would now be taken to ensure that the construction debris would be cleared to avoid similar flooding in the future, the spokesman said he did not have any information on this.

“At the moment, there is not much that can be done since construction work is still under way, but I’m sure the contractor will be told to be more careful.”

Balzan valley. Photo: Paul ZahraBalzan valley. Photo: Paul Zahra



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