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Manwel Dimech Bridge could reopen next week

The Manwel Dimech Bridge could be reopened next week, The Times was told.

According to a spokesman for the contractor, work has reached the final stages and will be finalised in the coming days. "We are very close," he said when contacted.

Motorists are now able to see the progress on the north-bound carriageway because the green mesh between the two parts of the bridge has been removed. Workers yesterday were laying the last part of the waterproofing surface before starting on the tarmac works, probably on Monday.

The spokesman said that although the contractor was finishing the works next week, it was up to the Malta Transport Authority to decide on the opening date. "We know we can complete the works but then it is up to them," he said.

However, the authorities are keeping mum on the bridge's reopening date, with an official from the Communications and National Projects Ministry refusing to say whether the contractor has given a definite date by when the north-bound carriageway will be opened to traffic.

The official said the ADT and the Contracts Department were in constant communication with the contractor about the earliest completion of the project and the reopening of the bridge to traffic.

Asked whether the ADT is considering any action against the contractor in view of the fact that work took longer than originally planned, the ministry official said the ADT was keeping all options open at this stage.

The Manwel Dimech Bridge project has been fraught with controversy because of delays in its completion. The €6 million (Lm2.58 million) job started in September 2006 and was originally expected to be completed within a year, but the September deadline was extended to November. That was later moved to March, although the developers were sticking to their May deadline as the "realistic" delivery time.

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