Regional Road green-roofing project still on the cards: Environment Minister

The investigations into the roofing of the “green lung” over part of the regional road in Santa Venera are still ongoing, as the environment minister is still scheduled for the project.

“The geotechnical studies will be with me in the coming weeks and reports on the feasibility of the project will be in soon … then we will see how the necessary work will be funded,” Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia told the Times of Malta.

“I plan to have this project in Santa Venera and I want it to happen.”

In 2019, then Environment Minister José Herrera had initiated plans for a “green lung roof” over part of the regional road that divides Santa Venera. The aim is to provide a parking space for around 150 cars and the installation of a filter system to reduce emissions from traffic pollution.

There are no final financing plans

Herrera had announced that the € 20 million project would be completed within three to four years, but the Times of Malta reported last August that the initiative appeared to have stalled with no planning requests yet.

Meanwhile, the recent announcement of the multi-million dollar upgrade to Romeo Romano Gardens sparked criticism on social media, with a number of commentators asking if the renovation of the public area should replace the roof of the tunnels with the “green lung”.

Farrugia, however, denied the allegations.

“The roofing of the tunnel project in Santa Venera costs over 25 million euros and is not a project where you wake up one morning and decide to start a garden there,” he said, adding when he became minister in January 2019, found only preliminary studies .

Since then, the ministry has looked carefully at how the work could be financed in the absence of definitive funding plans.

He said discussions are being held with various bodies on how to support the tunnels’ umbrella project through either the government, international bonds, or a public-private partnership.

Geotechnical studies are also carried out to determine if the rocks can withstand the structure. These studies will be completed within a month.

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