Traffic Impact Assessments are needed when buildings are going to be developed and not when new or existing roads are being developed, Transport Minister Ian Borg said.

Having said that, Transport Malta conducted various studies over the past few months as part of its cost/benefit analysis, he said. These did not only look at the impact of the infrastructure but also at various options to ensure that the best was chosen. The authorities are currently studying these options before a final report is issued, he said, which would in turn form part of the Planning Authority public consultation.

Replying to a long series of parliamentary questions by MP David Agius, various nuggets of information were given about the €55 million project.

Read: €55 million project to upgrade thoroughfare from Saqqajja Hill to Mrie─žel Bypass

• The Central Link Project is based on a two-land road, with a separate new residential road.

• Over 30,000 drivers use the current road every day.

• The minister was asked how many farms would be affected by the new road but only said that talks were underway with the owners and users of land.

• Since driving times would be halved thanks to the new road, public transport would also benefit. Bus bays will also be added, making it safer and more convenient for passengers.

• Residential garages will not lead directly onto the new road but onto a purely residential one.

• On-street parking will be retained on the residential road.

• The arterial road will be lower than the residential road, where possible, to make it less visible from homes. There will also be a visual and acoustic buffer created using trees and landscaped areas.

• The project will do away with four traffic light junctions and various bottlenecks, the worst being Triq in-Nutar Zarb in Attard, where traffic from Mosta, Ta’ Qali and Rabat have to merge into a single lane.

• 10 kilometres of pavements and paths, and two kilometres of cycling routes will be created.

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