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Architects forget to include bulbs in Żebbuġ road tender

The new lighting poles in Vjal il-Ħelsien, Żebbuġ.The new lighting poles in Vjal il-Ħelsien, Żebbuġ.

Żebbuġ’s main thoroughfare has been left in the dark since November after the architect forgot to make provisions for the procurement of bulbs in the tender, The Sunday Times has learnt.

The €1.2 million project in Vjal il-Ħelsien had been described by the local council as a ‘state of the art showcase’ of Grandmaster’s De Rohan’s city. But after residents and motorists had to endure months of dust and inconvenience until the road was completed, the project has another hitch.

Although many new lighting poles have been erected, the council said the architects preparing the tender failed to seek Enemalta’s permission, as they were obliged to, before increasing road lighting.

The architects are Med Design Associates, a company owned by Labour MP and former minister Charles Buhagiar.

A number of Vjal il-Ħelsien residents said their complaints to the council fell on deaf ears.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen. I cannot understand how you can leave lighting poles without bulbs for such a long time. Is it such a big deal after spending more than a €1 million for a 500-metre road?” a businessman said.

When contacted, a spokesman for the council admitted the situation was “embarrassing” but shifted the blame onto the council’s architects over gross mistakes in the tendering documents.

“At design stage of the tender documents, we were informed by our architects – Med Design Associates – that all the necessary lighting studies had been carried out.

“It now transpires that no approval by Enemalta had been sought and that the original tender document did not contain the specifications for the lighting system – what type of bulbs should be used and what wattage and lamination – but just specifications relating to the design of the poles.”

Admitting this was an inconvenience the council would have liked to avoid, the spokesman said the council had now issued a new tender for the procurement of bulbs. He said the situation should be rectified in a few weeks’ time. Questions sent to Mr Buhagiar remained unanswered, despite several reminders.

Asked whether the council will be taking any measures against Med Design Associates, the spokesman would only say that the architect’s firm had won a consultancy tender to provide its services to the council for three years.

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