The tunnel passing under the Kappara bypass has been for some time been closed for renovations, causing a disruption to several students. It was closed for renovations almost 8 months, since August 2017, and not for almost two years as other sectors of the media mistakenly reported. Following criticism from KSU back in January, Transport Malta responded that the tunnel was to undergo extended works as per the request of the University administration; but failed to give a completion date for this project at the time.
In a press conference this morning however, Pulse announced that the tunnel, and hence also Car Park 10, will be re-opened next week. This announcement, said Pulse President Johnluke Ellul, was possible following the organisation’s “constant contact” with the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, Dr. Ian Borg, having met with him in the first weeks of the New Year. The new tunnel will also feature new safety precautions such as new street lights, Ellul said.
Pulse said that, the opening of the tunnel will give University students access to another 100 parking spaces in Car Park 10; a number which will no doubt serve to alleviate to some extent the parking problem on campus.
Controversy over Press Conference
Whilst the news of the opening of the tunnel has been welcomed; the calling of the press conference itself to announce this has caused controversy. Speaking on Facebook, KSU Vice-President Steve Zammit Lupi lamented that when calling the press conference, Pulse had not advised the Precint’s Office at the University, nor had it informed or held the press conference with the University’s Architect’s Office, which had been responsible for the overseeing of the project with Transport Malta. Whilst welcoming the opening of the tunnel, Zammit Lupi added “let us not manipulate the situation.”
Contacted by The Yuppie, Johnluke Ellul said;
“In no way this is a manipulation of the issue. We only want the best for the student body, we spoke with the Ministry and Transport Malta (who were the main body responsible for the works)”
Zammit Lupi also lamented on how Pulse had “remained silent” when KSU brought the issue of the unfinished to light in a Facebook post on January 26th of this year.
On behalf of Pulse, Ellul replied;
We [Pulse] acknowledge KSU’s efforts to put further pressure back in January. But as an organisation we felt that we should go direct to the Ministry concerned and kept a close contact with Minister Dr Ian Borg. We only spoke when we had concrete information on the issue.
What is for sure, is that despite the controversy surrounding the announcement; by the end of next week, the tunnel will be open to traffic once again.