The Italian industrial group Salini Impregilo, specialising in the construction and civil engineering business, is among the companies that showed interest in the tunnel project between Malta and Gozo. Salini Impreglio is also involved in the Genoa bridge project replacing the previous bridge which collapsed in August 2018. Salini Impregilo is based in Milan, and is considered as the largest Italian engineering and general contractor group and a global player in the construction sector. It is active in over 50 countries with 35,000 employees.
Four bidders have participated in the pre-qualification questionnaire for the design, building, financing, operation and maintenance of the Malta-Gozo tunnel. The call for participation in a pre-qualification questionnaire which was issued by Infrastructure Malta last January, closed on Thursday.
The tunnel between Malta and Gozo is expected to be 14 kilometres long and will be partially subsea, with one lane in each direction and another in the middle in cases of emergency.
Maltese Transport Minister Ian Borg and Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri explained that the tunnel is expected to start from Xemxija and should end in an arterial road in Gozo. Frederick Azzopardi from Infrastructure Malta said that the reason why there is no specific location in Gozo where the permanent link must end is that Gozo’s arterial roads can cater for the volume of this project.
Following the evaluation of this questionnaire, a discussion will commence with respect bidders to plan for the implementation of the project by the chosen bidders.
Other offers included companies from Turkey, France and Japan.
Minister Camilleri said that the permanent link will mean that Gozitans can be more optimistic about accessing any opportunity, equal to any other Maltese citizen. He also said that this project will ensure the rebirth of the social and economic spheres of the island.
Last February, the Malta Chamber of Commerce asked the government to reconsider the investment for the tunnel between Malta and Gozo. However, the Gozo Business Chamber is not aligned with this recommendation and emphasised that the tunnel between the two islands has the potential to provide the most cost-effective connectivity option.