A €55 million project to upgrade the arterial thoroughfare between Saqqajja Hill in Rabat and the Mrieħel bypass was unveiled by Transport Minister Ian Borg on Tuesday.

Though no date was given for the start of what is being called the Central Link Project, Dr Borg said that it would take two years to complete and would reduce travel time by up to 50 per cent.

Once complete, traffic emissions would be cut by 13 per cent, he said.

The Transport Minister said studies had concluded that this particular design was the most adequate from both the environmental and financial perspectives.

Dr Borg pointed out that had the government not carried out such studies, the project would not have been eligible for EU funding.

Nonetheless, he acknowledged that some agricultural land would have to be taken up but this, he said, would be much less than drafted in the original plans around 2006.

Details of this project had been divulged by the Times of Malta a few months ago, prompting mixed reactions.

While some residents who will be directly affected criticised the plans, other questioned whether the government had considered any alternative solutions.

Writing on Facebook, the minister said the project will improve a route used by around 30,000 cars daily. It will widen the street to two or three lanes on each side throughout and the main traffic lights, which were currently causing delays, would be removed.

It will also include two kilometres of bike lanes, 10 kilometres of pavements and walking lanes.



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