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Floods expose pre-WWII culverts under Birkirkara

Maintenance work on the Birkirkara end of Valley Road, which should be completed by Tuesday, has exposed a system of old culverts – probably dating back to before World War II – under Birkirkara, leading to the sea.

Maintenance work on the Birkirkara end of Valley Road, which should be completed by Tuesday, has exposed a system of old culverts – probably dating back to before World War II – under Birkirkara, leading to the sea.

Works on the partial rebuilding of the Birkirkara end of Valley Road should be completed by Tuesday, eight days after the flooding. The works have exposed decades-old water culverts excavated in rock under the road and they are being cleaned.

Valley Road was closed to traffic on Tuesday after substantial parts of the busy street were badly damaged by the water, particularly at the Birkirkara end.

The area turned into a graveyard of cars, lamp posts and road signs but workers immediately started removing loose tarmac and preparing the road foundations for resurfacing. The major part of the road was open for traffic yesterday and the only remaining closed area is that in front of the VAT offices where old water culverts were discovered.

Architect David Vassallo, from Transport Malta, explained that there was a system of old culverts – probably dating back to before World War II – under Birkirkara, leading to the sea.

Before resurfacing the area, workers had to clean the culverts under the exposed part of the road. If these channels remained blocked, the surface would come undone again with the first rainfall.

Mr Vassallo added that the work should be finished by Tuesday and, once the road was reopened to traffic, the authorities would check whether the rest of the culverts were blocked. Valley Road is one of the most flood-prone areas on the island and still reeked of sewage yesterday afternoon.

According to Opposition spokesperson Charles Buhagiar, the overflowing sewage problem could be solved if every building had a well, as stipulated by the law.

Mr Buhagiar said the Government should enforce this part of the law and kick-start the water catchment EU-funded project it had announced in the 2008 Budget speech.

Rainwater was an important resource, which the island could not let go to waste, especially since the island’s valleys could take up to 120,000 cubic metres of water that would help replenish the water table, he said.

He said no new reservoirs had been built over the past 25 years and although the Resources Ministry has, for a long time, been saying that it was cleaning valleys and reservoirs, it was useless to partially clean them.

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