Commuters who change buses in Floriana could soon be able to catch their breath at an underground café in a subway that will include a bicycle parking area and public toilets.
The idea of a new subway connecting four main bus stops in the Bombi area, replacing the old pedestrian underpass is being proposed by Infrastructure Malta.
The underpass will have a 12-metre wide, naturally lit walkway and provide quicker, direct connections to the bus stops with pathways, stairs and elevators.
There is no completion date yet, as this would depend on the planning authority’s permitting process and the procurement process.
IM has already submitted the proposed plans to the PA so that they can be published for public consultation in the coming weeks.
The agency is now meeting several entities and authorities, including local councils of nearby localities, to finalise plans and continue the applicable develop permitting process. A public call for offers for the required construction services will be issued in the coming months.
IM hopes more pedestrians and bus passengers would be encouraged to use this segregated crossing instead of attempting to cross the six-lane arterial road above.
The new subway will not be in the same location as the existing one but right beneath two of the bus stops and next to the other two.
In the proposed design, elevators and a short flight of stairs behind the newly installed bus shelters will connect the Bombi Three stop westbound bus stop in National Road to the subway.
At the other end, the subway will have a wide opening facing Independence Road, which connects the Sa Maison area of Msida with National Road and St Anne Road through an underpass and four slip roads.
The northbound Bombi Four stop in Independence Road and the eastbound Bombi Two stop in National Road will be connected to the subway through elevators and stairs as well.
The project will also include the installation of night lighting in the subway and all footpaths leading to it, as well as CCTV systems for increased pedestrian safety.
The iconic 1960s vaulted bus shelters in Independence Road (Bombi Four), one of the earliest examples of reinforced concrete structures of their kind in Malta, will be protected and incorporated as part of the project.
Safer links in other localities
In a bid to encourage safer and alternative travel, IM is currently building a pedestrian overpass a short distance away from the Portes des Bombes to improve the connections between another five bus stops (Blata l-Bajda one to five), the Floriana park-and-ride and several nearby residential and commercial areas in Blata l-Bajda and Ħamrun.
Another pedestrian and cycling overpass is under construction in Aviation Avenue between Gudja and Luqa, providing a link between these localities, the Malta International Airport and the Institute of Tourism Studies.
A separate overpass will soon be built in Dom Mintoff Road in Paola, linking MCAST’s main campus, the residential and industrial zones of Corradino and the centre of the locality.
Meanwhile, the reconstruction of Qormi Road, Luqa, will soon be completed. It will include a new segregated cycle track - the second track of its kind in Malta. The other one is situated between Żabbar and Żejtun, along L-Aħħar Ħbit mit-Torok Road (known as Taċ-Ċawsli).
Another two cycle lanes were built along Buqana Road between Mtarfa and Mosta, and in Luqa Road, Santa Lucia.
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