Admired by some and derided by others, the Fort St Elmo breakwater bridge has nonetheless become a landmark at the mouth of the Grand Harbour though it has been dogged by structural frailties.

Access to the bridge was only restored recently following repairs to some parts, including the decking, that had been damaged by a storm in October 2016.

The project also incorporated a new illumination system and a Transport Malta spokesman told the Times of Malta last month that work on the lights and handrails would be carried out “in the coming weeks”.

The spokesman also insisted that, following the recent repairs, the bridge was again open to the public.

This newspaper had received complaints by a number of visitors, especially tourists.

They lamented that, after venturing all the way to lower Fort St Elmo to enjoy the Grand Harbour view from the breakwater, they had to turn back because the bridge’s gates were closed.

However, the Transport Malta spokesman said the bridge was accessible on a regular basis, except on days of inclement weather and when the repairs were in progress.

Inaugurated in 2011, the single span, 190-ton structure stretching over a 70-metre gap cost €2.8 million. While some lauded the project meant to restore the breakwater’s original entrance, others criticised the huge financial outlay involved saying it was nothing more than a “bridge to nowhere”.

The new bridge replaced the original two-arched structure that had been destroyed by Italian E-boats in July 1941 at the height of World War II.

The original intention was to build the exact same replica of the Victorian bridge, completed around 1910, but such a plan was deemed to be not financially viable due to the quantity of steel required.

The tender issued for the reconstruction of the bridge, for which 12 bids were submitted, specified that it had to have a lifespan of 120 years.

Nonetheless, it has already necessitated major repairs on various occasions after being damaged by the natural elements.

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