A contractor whose roadworks on an Msida street turned it into a dustbowl has argued that workers were actually sweeping at the time, the town's mayor has said. 

Video posted to social media on Tuesday showed the driver of an excavator manoeuvering around Triq Tal-Qroqq, throwing large amounts of dust into the air and surrounding parked cars and houses.  

The excavator appeared to have been driving up and down the road as part of roadworks being carried out there. The road was closed for traffic but residents were still allowed to park their cars there in the evenings. 

A passer-by told Times of Malta the excavator appeared to have brushes attached to it, and that was why so much dust had been whipped up. He said his car ended up coated in fine dust.  

The video posted to Facebook showing the clouds of dust in Triq tal-Qroqq. Video: Facebook

Residents in the area also complained this was not the first time this had happened and they have had to live in homes full of dust for weeks. 

When contacted, Msida mayor Margaret Baldacchino Cefai said that she had reported the problem to the Building and Construction Authority as well as the Infrastructure Malta civil engineer responsible for the roadworks.

The mayor said she had also spoken to the contractor concerned. 

"The contractor said that they were sweeping," she said. "He also said that after the sweeping, a [water] bowser was used to wash the road." 

Infrastructure Malta threatens fines

Meanwhile, an Infrastructure Malta spokesperson said the agency visited Tal-Qroqq Street on Wednesday morning and "ordered the contractor to properly clean the street immediately" by the end of the day.

The contractor was also told to keep the road clean, "with adequate dust suppression measures, until works are completed".

"If the contractor does not follow these instructions, applicable penalties will be enforced. The contractor was also instructed to spray the street with water before using mechanical sweepers, as per normal procedure to avoid the dust dispersion seen in the video filmed during yesterday’s cleaning.

"Finally, the contractor was reminded to advise its workers to be extra vigilant for road users’ and residents’ safety when using machinery in streets that remain open to the public during works," the spokesperson said. 

This is the second time in under a week that residents' complaints about community roadworks have made headlines. 

On Saturday, Times of Malta reported that Balzan residents were livid after a second sleepless night in a row due to roadworks carried out throughout the night in Triq Birbal.

Works started on Thursday at around 7.30pm, with jackhammers and other heavy machinery digging roads and buzzing noisily until the early hours of Friday morning.

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