Infrastructure Malta has completed works on two controversial roads in Dingli which had been delayed when activists camped on site until an agreement to scale down the original plans was reached. 

The project in cTriq id-Daħla tas-Sienja , Triq San Ġwann Bosco and Sqaq il-Museum began last October but works were soon halted after activists occupied the site.

Discussions were held with the Planning Authority, the Environment and Resources Authority and the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage and the decision was taken to scale down the original proposal by reducing the road’s width by a fifth.

Following the meetings, the authorities published plans for the new road, and agreed to narrow the planned 10-metre-wide road by two metres. Works began again in March. 

Infrastructure Malta chief executive Frederick Azzopardi said in a tweet on Monday that the project had been completed and the area was now safer for residents. 

An IM spokesperson explained that the agency had laid the foundations of this new road and built new sidewalks and rubble walls along the sides of the fields next to it. At the same time, it also prepared underground cable pipes so that Enemalta will be able to install new lights.

He said that as it usually does in all works close to archaeological remains, Infrastructure Malta worked closely with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage to ensure that a centuries-old abandoned building a short distance away from the new street’s alignment, which is believed to be the remains of a medieval chapel, is not adversely impacted by the works.

The construction of the new street did not necessitate the demolition or alteration of any parts of these historical remains. 

An archaeologist approved by the Superintendence monitored all road works near this historical structure to make sure it is adequately protected.

The spokesperson said that as an additional measure to protect the historic landscape of the areas and following a suggestion by the culture watchdog, the agency paved part of the new road with brown material, which while bearing the weight of vehicles, resembles rural paving and blends more with old buildings. 

An aerial shot of the site before the new roads were built. Photo: IMAn aerial shot of the site before the new roads were built. Photo: IM

Environmental NGO Moviment Graffitti, several residents and councillors had delayed the project arguing that it would destroy a carob tree that was hundreds of years old. 

The Environment and Resources Authority issued a permit for the uprooting of three trees on the site of the schemed street.

The decision was confirmed by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal on appeal. The tribunal confirmed the approval for the uprooting of the three trees, explaining that Infrastructure Malta had been requested to plant 30 new trees as adequate compensation in line with applicable regulations.

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