The road which leads from Mosta to Mġarr is to undergo a major safety upgrade to prevent head-on collisions, Infrastructure Malta has said.
The road is notorious for overspeeding and head-on crashes, which have sometimes been fatal.
A spokesman for the roads agency said the works, similar to what was recently done at Burmarrad, will start later this week.
The project follows appeals from road users, paramedics and Mġarr Local Council about safety concerns, the spokesman said.
The spokesman said Infrastructure Malta will transform the road (officially called Sir Temi Zammit Road) into a dual carriageway route, with one lane in each direction separated by crash barriers or bollards. The agency will also introduce other safety measures, including pedestrian crossings and high friction anti-skid surface treatments.
"This upgrade will reduce the risks of cross-median collisions, whilst discouraging speeding. The two carriageways will still be wide enough to allow emergency vehicles to overtake stationary vehicles in case of need," the spokesman said.
The safety upgrade will also feature the rebuilding of a footpath on one side, new pedestrian crossings and two uninterrupted cycle lanes, one in each direction.
A new roundabout will be built at the junction with the road to L-Imselliet, facilitating safer access to the two schools there.
Specially designed crash barriers
The crash barriers which will separate the two carriageways with will be made of concrete and specifically designed to prevent rollover, reducing the risks of serious injuries.
This design was first introduced by Infrastructure Malta projects in 2019 and has reduced the consequences of collisions along roads such as Tal-Balal and the Regional Road, the spokesman said.
"This kind of vehicle restraint system, which is widely used in many European motorways, including the UK’s M1 and M6, is crash-tested and certified to safely contain the impact of a 13-tonne bus travelling at speeds of up to 70 km/h.
The spokesman shared a video demonstrating the barriers' crash test effectiveness.
The six-metre, 3.4 tonne barriers are cast under licence from safety barriers company Deltabloc International GmbH.
The precast concrete crash barriers have a special anti-flip profile that redirects vehicles back onto the carriageway, to drastically reduce the risk of roll-over upon impact. They also have a high containment level with low deflection (side movement) to prevent cross-median accidents. Notwithstanding their rigidity, the barriers help contain drivers’ and passengers’ head acceleration on impact to a safe level, reducing potential severe neck injuries.
Since they have no sharp edges, these concrete barriers are also safer for motorcyclists. Studies have shown that this type of vehicle restraint system reduces the likelihood of severe injuries to helmeted riders involved in motorcycle-barrier collisions.