SME Chamber

The Paola Interchange a success STORY

The GRTU, the Paola Local Council and the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport & Communications (MITC) joined forces and for the past days have worked together upon the best solution as to where the Paola Interchange will be placed so that no harm will be caused to the Business Community let alone the Resident.


Discussions commenced on the 11th February 2011 where a meeting was organised for the Paola Business Community after the GRTU was informed by the Paola Local Council that works will start in due course on the Interchange in the Main Square of Paola as proposed by Transport Malta. The Local Council informed that no Traffic Impact Assessment was presented as to how the changes will affect the traffic system as no consultation took place with the stakeholders as required on the design of the main square and circulating bus routes.

Both the GRTU and the Local Council kept work from commencing as both agreed that no consultation has been made with all parties concerned.  Both the Council and GRTU considered a line of negotiation to propose, sound alternatives and resolve issues which are of concern to many of the local sectors whilst still supporting the transit concept. The Local Council proposed that the Interchange will be set in Valletta Road.

Objections at different levels;

The plans by Transport Malta propose two 30m bus bays and shelters along the pavement from HSBC Paola Branch to Church Avenue and from Main Street Mall in front of APS bank down to the Hibernians FC.

The plans do not consider alternative parking, service area for loading and unloading and congestion at peak-time with buses as frequent as 66 buses per hour including 19 meter buses.

The project does not resolve the junction upgrade which is crucial to traffic management at the lower part of the square where intersections from Zabbar Road and Cospicua Road merge at the Square with Valletta Road.

The Schools and College in the area namely Paola Primary A and B, St. Thomas Moore School, St. George Preca College was in the dark. Plans to initiate a Walking Bus for the primary school will have to be shelved. Four main bus routes at 20-30 minute intervals will be circulating the area around the four schools impeding any possible mobility and access.

The new routes will effect primarily the curfew hours for Church Avenue and Guze D'Amato. There will be a clash at peak times negatively impacting the Health and Safety of the school children, pupils, the teachers and parents.

The traffic impact will be transmitted further to interconnecting streets creating further congestion, further parking problems for local residents and business with extensive pollution.

The Local Council was concerned on the impact of the major Health Centre in Paola. Complaining that the congestion in the square will affect the Ambulance and the parking possibilities within for users in the area.

In no part of the plans are there indication of accessibility for all and full access for the impaired either at the main square or the sites on Church Avenue and Guze D'Amato.

The GRTU took note of all these complaints/objections and organised a meeting to discuss them with the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport & Communications. A fruitful meeting took place with representatives from the said Ministry proposing that the Interchange will be set partly in the Main Square and partly in Valletta Road. GRTU was asked to prepare a questionaire with both the Local Council and MITC proposals and present the result to the Ministry. The majority of those surveyed were in favour of MITC's proposal, that the Interchange will be set partly in the Main Square and partly in Valletta Road.

Another meeting took place between MITC and the Local Council and an agreement was reached. The Interchange will be set up partly in the Main Square starting from the lower area (Hibernians FC side) and partly in Valletta Road.

The GRTU together with the Local Council met last week with representatives from the Roads Infrastructure Directorate (RID) to discuss the plan of works as agreed. Works are to commence in the coming days.

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