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

Studies on the ‘green lung’ roof covering part of the regional road in Santa Venera are still ongoing as the Environment Minister is still ready for the project to take place.

“The geotechnical studies will be with me in the coming weeks and reports on the feasibility of the project will be done shortly … then we will see how funding for the necessary works will take place,” said Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia. Times of Malta.

“My plans are for this project to take place in Santa Venera and I want it to happen.”

In 2019, then Environment Minister José Herrera had launched plans for a ‘green lung’ roof covering part of the regional road that separates Santa Venera. The goal is to include a parking space for about 150 cars, along with the installation of a filtration system to reduce traffic pollution emissions.

There are no definitive financing plans

Herrera had said the € 20 million project would be completed within three to four years Times of Malta reported last August that the initiative appeared to have stalled, with no building applications submitted so far.

Meanwhile, the recent announcement of the multi-million dollar upgrade of Romeo Romano Gardens sparked criticism on social media and a number of commentators asked if the public space renewal should replace the ‘green lung’ roofing of the tunnels.

Farrugia, however, denied the charges.

“The roofing of the Santa Venera tunnels project costs over € 25 million and it is not a project that makes you wake up one morning and decide to put a garden there,” he said, adding that when he left in January 2019 minister was found, only preliminary studies.

He said the ministry has since looked deep into how the works could be funded as there were no definitive funding plans.

He said talks are underway with various agencies about how the tunnels’ roofing project would be supported, whether through the government, international bonds or private-public partnership.

Geotechnical surveys are also underway to see if the rocks can withstand the construction. These investigations are completed within one month.

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