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Mrieħel bypass bridge lifts ‘switched off after vandalism’

Bridge is a lucrative money-maker for company that handles advertising

The bridge has proven to be a lucrative money-maker for the company that handles advertising on it. Photo: Jonathan Borg

The bridge has proven to be a lucrative money-maker for the company that handles advertising on it. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Lifts installed on the Mrieħel bypass bridge earlier this summer have been switched off for repairs after being vandalised, a spokesman for Infrastructure Malta said.

Work on the bridge started a few months before last year’s general election, on the back of a 2013 pledge by the Labour Party in the wake of a fatal traffic accident in 2005 when two girls were mowed down as they crossed the road to return home.

The project has been plagued by delays, including the installation of the two lifts on either side.

Read: Mrieħel footbridge delayed

A frustrated pedestrian who tried to cross the bridge this week told the Times of Malta that the lift did not appear to be functioning.

“I pressed the button, waited for several minutes, but to no avail,” the pedestrian lamented.

Replying to questions, an Infrastructure Malta spokesman said the lifts were recently switched off for repairs due to the vandalism.

I pressed the button, waited for several minutes, but to no avail

The spokesman said the control in one of the cabins was snapped off and stolen.

He said Infrastructure Malta was committed to continuing improving the quality and safety of the country’s transport infrastructure for all road users.

The bridge has proven to be a lucrative money-maker for the company that handles advertising on it, which can rake in just under €23,000 monthly from sales, according to the rates calculated by the operators. Advertising on the bridge is handled by Aiken Services Ltd, a company that provided the Labour Party with billboards during the last two electoral campaigns. 

Read: Unfinished Mrieħel bridge can draw €23,000 a month in adverts

The Times of Malta has previously reported that the company which built the bridge has exclusive rights to use its surfaces for advertising as part of a 20-year concession agreement reached with the government. The advertising space started to be used in May 2017, soon after the structure was put in place, even though the lifts were still not installed.

Delays in the elevator system led Transport Malta to file a judicial protest in December 2017, demanding the immediate installation of the lifts.

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