Plans for a tunnel connecting Malta and Gozo have taken a huge leap forward.
MPs have voted unanimously to push ahead with the proposal, which Malta’s transport minister Ian Borg described as ‘historic’.
He said Gozo residents would no longer have to depend on good weather to be able to get to work on time.
Gozo minister Justyne Caruana dismissed fears that the island’s unique charm would be lost as a result of the link.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said it was up to the authorities to make sure the project would not lead to a loss of Gozo’s character.
Opposition MP Chris Said, who is a former mayor of Nadur, also backed the plans.
He said the idea of building a tunnel or bridge had been included in both the Labour and Nationalist elections manifestos in 2017.
Dr Said said ferry commuters between Mgarr and Cirkewwa faced misery, spending 15 extra hours a week travelling between the islands.
The Gozo Tunnel – what we know so far:
- The tender for the design, building, maintenance, and operation of the tunnel will be published before summer
- The plans will lead to the creation of a 13km-long tunnel with one traffic lane heading in either direction, with an additional safety lane
- Studies predict that around 6,500 cars and lorries will use the tunnel on a daily basis
- A railway line or metro system has already been ruled out as ‘not viable’
- It is expected to open by 2024 and will link L-Imbordin on the outskirts of St Paul’s Bay to the Ta’ Kenuna area of Nadur
- The tunnel would eventually replace the current Gozo Channel ferry service
Read more: Malta to Gozo tunnel ‘will be open by 2024’