Malta-Gozo tunnel could run from Manikata to Nadur

13km-long tunnel would cost as much as Gozo ferry

An undersea Malta-Gozo tunnel would run between Manikata and Nadur, according to studies currently being considered by the government.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg revealed the proposed tunnel's most likely entry and exit points during a press conference held on Tuesday afternoon, though he made it clear that the possibility of having different tunnel entry points remained on the table.

The current proposal would lead to the creation of a 13km-long tunnel with a 7 metre radius and one traffic lane heading in either direction, with an additional safety lane.

Tolls would be the same as those currently charged by the Gozo Channel ferry, Dr Borg said.

Excavating the tunnel would likely take three years, with further time needed to complete the works.

Norwegian experts SINTEF, who have been hired to work on tunnel plans, told reporters they favoured the Manikata entry point as it featured a natural slope while being close to sea level.

Dr Borg said the Manikata entry point would hopefully also help ease traffic in Mellieħa, with Gozo-bound motorists diverted to the tunnel instead.

Traffic analysts predicted that around 6,500 vehicles would use the tunnel on a day-to-day basis.

A decision about the ideal tunnel route is expected to be taken by August.

The tunnel could be operational by 2024.

Scientists at the University of Malta have completed studies into the sea depth and bed between Malta and Gozo, with an international consortium having also assessed coring samples.

University experts are now working to build a full geological study of the proposed site.

20 Apr 2018

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