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Marsa-Ħamrun flyover bridge is safe - Ian Borg

Transport Minister says studies have shown there is no cause for concern

Workers carry out surface works on the flyover bridge.

Workers carry out surface works on the flyover bridge.

Tests have confirmed that the Marsa-Ħamrun flyover is structurally safe and the bridge required only surface works.

Membrane was also laid over the bridge, which is near the Maltapost head office in Marsa, so as to prevent further damage from seeping rainwater.

Transport Minister Ian Borg told Times of Malta that the authorities had sprung into action months ago and tests were carried out on the Marsa and the Mistra bridges.

It transpired that while the state of the 130-year-old Mistra bridge, between Xemxija and Mellieħa, was critical, the structure of the Marsa one was fine.

Concern about its structure gained momentum following tragedy in Genoa, when the Morandi Bridge collapsed during a heavy downpour. It was further amplified when commuters spotted exposed rebar on the pillars, the Minister said. The rebar had been exposed as part of "aesthetic works" to the bridge.

Infrastructure Malta CEO Fredrick Azzopardi meanwhile noted that core samples from different parts of the structure had confirmed that the structure, built in the 1970s, was safe.

In April, the Transport Ministry had announced that several studies were under way to ascertain the safety and stability of structures forming part of the country’s road network, including the flyover.

A few months before, concern had been raised by a health and safety expert after chunks of concrete fell from the flyover.

Aldo Busuttil, from AME Health and Safety Services Ltd, showed the Times of Malta areas where the rebar had been exposed and was rusting.

A retired German road engineer had raised similar fears some 14 years ago. Jurgen Sixt had said that the flyover risked collapse unless instant action was taken.

He had specifically noted that 17 of its 40 columns were “in dire need of maintenance” while the bridge’s lifespan was of between 30 and 50 years.

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