An 8km gallery linking the Delimara power station to Marsa distribution centre was inaugurated today by Investments Minister Austin Gatt, who said this will be the backbone of the Maltese power grid.

The gallery, the longest in Malta, is between 20-40 metres underground and will house four 132kv cables.

The gallery is five metres wide - making it easy to drive through, and has branches to the Zejtun and Marsascala distribution centres. The branch to Marsascala will eventually extend to SmartCity.

Dr Gatt said the cables were so expensive that it was cheaper to run them underground than above ground, which would have taken a longer distance. Furthermore, it avoided disturbance to the roads.

Work on the tunnel started in 2001 and proceeded smoothly for all the distance except for 500 metres where cave-ins because of a poor rock structure slowed down progress considerably..

All material excavated from the tunnel has been recycled.

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