Controversial plans for a tunnel linking Malta and Gozo are expected to take a major step forward this week.
The start of the bidding process for the massive €300 million project, will reportedly be launched on Monday.
MaltaToday reported that ‘companies or consortia interested in bidding for this mega project will be invited to prove they have the necessary technical and financial capabilities, and an adequate level of experience in similar tunnel projects.
The newspaper added: ‘Those who meet the requirements will then be invited to proceed to the next phase, where they will submit detailed technical and financial proposals for the project.’
Last year, Malta’s transport minister Ian Borg told 89.7 Bay that the tunnel would run under the sea between L-Imbordin in Malta and Nadur Heights in Gozo.
A 13km-long tunnel is proposed with three lanes, catering for at least 6,500 cars and vans a day.
Support for the tunnel is mixed.
A MaltaToday survey showed that 66 per cent of Gozitans agreed with a construction of a tunnel, 9.5 per cent opposed it, and 24.5 per cent were unsure.
Another survey, by the Gozo Business Chamber, showed that 82 per cent of Gozo residents were in favour of the tunnel, with only 13 per cent against.
Former Chamber president Michael Grech said: ‘There is a whole host of benefits for the island which would include the possible return of Gozitans from Malta, more economic prosperity and more manageable flows of tourists and Maltese on holiday.’
However, critics argue that the tunnel would destroy Gozo’s charm and the island’s unique character.