One bidder out of four who submitted an offer to build a tunnel between Malta and Gozo has been shortlisted by Infrastructure Malta. The first hurdle was only surpassed by a consortium of five companies – UK’s Equitix, Japanese Itochu, Turkish companies Yapi Merkezi and Maykol and French company Egis. Eliminated from Infrastructure Malta’s tendering committee where rival bidders Malta-Gozo Fixed Link Limited, Salini Impregilo SpA and CGYI Malta-Gozo consortium. The appeal period for the decision closes September 20th 2021.
Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg revealed last year that the government would not be funding this tunnel project, with all construction and maintenance costs going to the winning bidder. The government will instead maintain control of all the inert material that would be generated as part of the project. The Minister also revealed that the tunnel project is financially viable even lacking state subsidies. The tolls would only be determined at the end of negotiations with the bidder being considered.
Support for the project is split right down the middle, according to a recent Times of Malta commissioned survey. 41.6% agree whereas 38.8% disagree with the project. Respondents from Gozo tended to show more disagreement for the project, racking up at a total of 41.5% expressing disagreement and 37.7% in favour.
The project was first initiated by the Nationalist government back in 2021 following a series of studies. The current proposal would see a 13-kilometre-long tunnel with one traffic lane heading in either direction along with a safety lane being constructed. Environmentalist groups have raised alarms about the project’s potential impact on both islands and the seas connecting and surrounding them.
Photo Source: Ian Borg FB, Archidose of Malta