By this summer, two pedestrian bridges for the use of cyclists and pedestrians for two main roads in Blata l-Bajda and near the airport at Vjal l-Avjazzjoni, Luqa, are expected to be finished. The bridges are being built in a way which will cater for maximum accessibility through the use of ramps.
The first pedestrian bridges built specifically with ramps for use by cyclists and those on foot, are at an advanced stage and Infrastructure Malta is estimating that they will be ready before summer. Work is underway on the columns and the foundations on which the steel structures will rest which will form the top decking are almost ready.
Infrastructure Malta engineer Robert Schembri said that the seven metre high structures which will hold the 34 metre long bridge at Luqa are designed like a spiral staircase. “This ramp can be used both by cyclists and pedestrians, and in the middle of it there will be access by lift for people with a disability and for those who cannot go up the ramp there will be a lift on both sides of the bridge.”
He added that the steel decking was brought in parts from Venice and within the next few weeks it will be transported from Ħal Far and put into place. “Once the bridge is ready we will remove the pelican lights on the main road which is very busy with traffic. We expect it will be used the most by ITS students and those who get off at the bus stop and need to cross to the airport or other places in the vicinity.”
The bridge which will be built near the Knisja tas-Soċjetà tal-Mużew in Blata l-Bajda will be more circular and will be slightly more than 100 metres long. It is being built in Marsa at the former Malta Shipbuilding warehouse. Right now the structures on which the bridge will rest are being built on site.
Architect Kylie Borg Marks said that the design of the bridge complements the environment and characteristics of this zone. “Since the bridge is joining an area which is lower than the other one, we gave it a difference level, in other words we are going up with a ramp from the bridge itself and this is part of the accessibility which is going to be much better than what there is today for one to cross the road.”
This structure will join Triq il-Kbira San Ġużepp in Hamrun with Spencer Hill and the area of Menqa, as well as the passenger ship terminals and the park and ride in Floriana. In this way, Ms Borg Marks pointed out, a safer passage will be created to cross this main road and the pelican lights which are there now will be removed. She explained that this will lead to an improvement in access for the five bus stops which are located on different sides of these two roads.
Infrastructure Malta is planning to build a similar pedestrian and cycling bridge which will be built in Triq Dom Mintoff to facilitate access between MCAST, the industrial zone and the residential area of Kordin and the heart of Paola.