Residents spoke to the Office of the Ombudsman regarding trenching works on Triq il-Qrendi in Zurrieq and the road linking Zurrieq to Qrendi and Imqabba. The residents highlighted that trenches were filled in, but the road was not re-tarmacked, leaving it in a poor state.
The Ombudsman decided to investigate the case on his own initiative.
Representatives from the Office of the Ombudsman conducted an on-site inspection to verify the concerns raised. The inspection revealed that although trenches were filled in, the original state of the road was not fully reinstated. The trenches were not sealed with tarmac, meaning a bout of heavy rain could cause them to reopen, posing a risk to all who utilise this essential route between Zurrieq and Qrendi.
The Ombudsman, Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon, wrote a letter on 28th August 2023 to Infrastructure Malta, Transport Malta, Enemalta, Water Services Corporation and the area’s Local Councils, seeking clarity on the body responsible for the road works. The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, the Minister for Public Works and Planning and the Minister for Environment, Energy and Enterprise were also copied.
Infrastructure Malta responded, stating they were not overseeing this roadworks.
Upon further enquiry, Transport Malta disclosed to the Ombudsman’s Office that they had authorised works either by or on behalf of Enemalta. They also indicated that liaison issues had hampered progress, prompting them to engage with contractors to expedite the task.
The Ombudsman recommended:
- The roadworks on Triq il-Qrendi must be completed within a month to eliminate user hazards.
- Whenever such projects are initiated, clear signage should be displayed indicating the responsible body and providing project details.
Transport Malta informed the Office of the Ombudsman that the roadworks would be finished by Saturday, 7th October 2023.
The Office of the Ombudsman subsequently confirmed the completion of the works.
Following the recommendation about informational signage, on 5 September 2023, it was announced that billboards would be erected at the onset of road works, providing the public with pertinent details about the project.