Infrastructure Malta should close a dangerous junction across the Mrieħel bypass and re-route traffic to other roads rather than build a flyover which will take up precious agricultural land, Qormi Local Council insisted on Tuesday.
The plans for the busy road were revealed earlier this month by Moviment Graffitti, which said that the flyover will replace the current pedestrian bridge and take up agricultural land equivalent to the size of three football pitches.
Infrastructure Malta has defended its plans, arguing that the flyover is needed to remove the danger caused when traffic from the south of Malta crosses the bypass to enter the Tal-Blat area adjoining Mrieħel industrial zone.
Qormi council said that after having met Infrastructure Malta, it had unanimously approved a resolution urging Infrastructure Malta to drop its plans.
The resolution was moved by Mayor Josef Masini Vento.
The council underlined the importance of agricultural land as the livelihood of farmers, as a lung of fresh air in an increasingly industrialised and commercial locality, and for aesthetic reasons.
It said it was also mindful of the danger that existed when vehicular traffic crossed the by-pass.
It therefore proposed that the junction be closed, with those wishing to access Tal-Blat and Mrieħel using the existing routes along Mill Street, Cannon Road or Fluer-de-Lys instead.
It also proposed that the cycling lane and pedestrian path be built on a cantilever engineered structure.
The council also expressed concern that the proposed project would impinge on the recently-completed rainwater flooding relief project.
It said it remained open for more talks with Infrastructure Malta.
Moviment Graffitti, the MaYa foundation for sustainable farming and the Rota bicycle advocacy group in separate statements backed the Qormi council's stand. Rota complained that although it had been consulted on the layout of cycling lanes on the bypass, Infrastructure Malta had not taken its advice and had instead drawn up plans which would take up agricultural land.
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