Restoration of Għajn Dwieli Gate – one of the entrances to Cottonera cities

Infrastructure Malta is to invest 2.2 million euro in the restoration of Għajn Dwieli Gate, which was built 120 years ago and is one of the main entrances to Cospicua, Senglea, and Vittoriosa.

The agency launched this project as the 10 million euro investment is close to completion on a renovation of the four main tunnels in Malta’s arterial roads network, these being at Ta’ Giorni, Tal-Qroqq, St Venera, and Ħal Kirkop.

Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg told the media that this project will consist of restoration work on the Għajn Dwieli Gate and its two entrances as well as the big ventilation shaft at its centre. The works will include cleaning of the walls from a build-up of soot over many years, and plastering of the stonework with a porous material that will reduce the seepage of water through the rocks overlying the gateway. Improvements will also be carried out to the system of ducts and rainwater channels.

The works will then continue with the installation of an adequate system of lighting similar to those being installed by the agency in the other four tunnels. A security and fire system will also be installed, including fire hydrants, lights to indicate exits in the event of an evacuation, and contact points to summon assistance in emergencies. The tunnels will also have new CCTV cameras for traffic management as well as electronic traffic signs.

During World War II Cospicua residents who still lived in the area despite the heavy enemy bombardents used a small niche carved into the rockface of the tunnel as a chapel. As part of the restoration works, Infrastructure Malta will also clean up this niche and for safety reasons will isolate it with a door that opens in the event of a fire.

The Planning Authority had approved the restoration of this tunnel in 2020. Infrastructure Malta also consulted the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage to ensure the historic characteristics of the tunnel and the surrounding bastions are suitably safeguarded. The works are planned to start in the coming months and will be completed by end of 2022. Much of the work will be carried out in the night hours in order to minimise problems for users of the tunnel.