The government has reached an out-of-court settlement with construction magnate Charles Polidano to fix faulty works at the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal.
Sources said that Transport Malta and Polidano had agreed to shell out around €200,000 each to bring the deteriorated concrete works at the terminal up to scratch.
Last June, Times of Malta reported that according to a technical report, the concrete used on the terminal’s pedestrian bridge needed to be replaced, just six years after it was inaugurated.
The report, conducted by UK engineering firm CTP Consulting, was commissioned by Transport Malta and was drawn up after an inspection of the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal in May 2018.
The final report was handed over last April.
The bridge, which provides pedestrian access from the terminal building, across the gangway, to the Gozo ferry, was part of a €10 million EU-funded project. Built by Polidano Group and completed in 2012, it was inaugurated just before the 2013 election.
Although the bridge is only a few years old, the concrete is already showing serious signs of deterioration, with visible cracking, patches coming loose as well as hollow areas in the structure.
The concrete used on the terminal’s pedestrian bridge needed to be replaced, just six years after it was inaugurated
The concrete used on the bridge’s columns was poorer than that used in the rest of the structure, tests found.
Concrete testing, the report said, also measured the carbonation depth, which happens when air seeps into the concrete through pores and weakens it.
Sources said that although a certain grade of concrete was meant to be poured to a 5cm radius from the columns’ central metal structure, the contractors managed to achieve less than 2cm in areas.
The authority and Polidano, known as Ċaqnu, have agreed there was fault on either side.
While Polidano had at times failed to meet the minimum standards, the way the tender contract was worded by the authority also had shortcomings.
As a result, the two sides have agreed to share the cost of the repair and subsequent upgrading of the concrete
The works are to be completed within one year.
Polidano Group legal adviser, Jean Paul Sammut, said that Polidano followed the “deficient contract specifications”, but was also willing to ensure that the structure had the necessary durability safeguards it should have enjoyed in the first place.
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