A photo of a parked car surrounded by freshly-laid tarmac has done the rounds on social media amid questions on certain work practices being adopted during road resurfacing jobs.
Infrastructure Malta, which was responsible for the job, insisted this was an exception as towing away the vehicle would have damaged it.
The bizarre incident happened on Monday in Isouard Street, St Paul’s Bay, during emergency work to repair 17 residential roads in the locality.
The images uploaded on Facebook stoked a debate and prompted questions on the reason why the vehicle had not been towed away before the work, which had been announced days in advance, started. Others poked fun at Infrastructure Malta saying it made no sense at all to forge ahead with work without ensuring the road was completely clear.
Contacted by Times of Malta, an Infrastructure Malta spokesman said this was a “unique case”. He noted that the car could not been towed away without being damaged. Though no further details were given on the matter, there were suggestions on Facebook this was due to the fact that the car had automatic transmission.
The spokesman said the decision to carry on with the work was made to avoid delays. “Works were reorganised to remove the existing asphalt and lay a new surface in the rest of the carriageway,” he said, pledging that the patch where the car was parked would be repaired by Thursday.
The patch where the car was parked would be repaired by today
The timing of the work a few weeks before European and council elections, coupled with the tight completion deadline set for the end of next week, raised eyebrows. Moreover, affected residents told the newspaper that, in some areas, a thin layer of tarmac, no thicker than five centimetres, was being laid and certain roads, like Triq iċ-Ċagħaq, were being resurfaced despite still being in good condition.
Asked how long the 17 roads were expected to last, Infrastructure Malta’s spokesman failed to reply but pointed out that this was a temporary measure until they would be reconstructed from scratch under the government’s €700-million programme to rebuild all roads.
The spokesman blamed the St Paul’s Bay council for leaving the locality’s road in a bad state of repair and insisted that ongoing works were up to standard. The work would involve scraping off the existing tarmac layers, reinforcing deep crevices with sub-base asphalt and resurfacing the road, he said. The spokesman denied claims that asphalt was being laid over the existing surface.
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