Fort St Elmo is finally linked to the breakwater
Anyone wishing to take a leisurely stroll along the breakwater up to the breakwater head light at the entrance of the Grand Harbour in Valletta now can do so thanks to a steel bridge that was officially inaugurated this evening by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications Austin Gatt.
The original steel viaduct bridge was destroyed on July 26, 1941 by an explosion during an Italian E-boat attack. Such an attack was meant to force entry into the Grand Harbour. Eventually the remaining section of the viaduct was lifted off its base and transported to the Dockyards. The reconstruction of the steel bridge is part of the Grand Harbour Local Plan.
Minister Gatt said that since Malta had gained Independence, every government had considered rebuilding the bridge. “After more than 65 years, this Government has managed to make this come true in line with its plans to give the capital city of Valletta the dignity it deserves,” he said.
Dr Gatt went on to compare the bridge as a symbol of the changes and projects that were carried out in the past four years in Valletta, in the Grand Harbour and at the port of Marsamxett.
He went on to list the several projects that were carried out in Valletta including the project at the entrance of the city, the paving of several main roads, the Upper Barrakka lift, the restoration of Fort St Elmo and the fortifications around Valletta, the restoration of the Auberge of Castille and Victoria Gate as well as St George’s Square.
“Valletta was built to protect Malta. Today Valletta is a magnet of the policies and economics of the island,” Dr Gatt said.
The foundations of the breakwater in the Grand Harbour were laid by King Edward VII in April 1903. As part of the design of the breakwater, the longer arm which juts out to sea from St. Elmo Point was separated from the foreshore by means of a steel bridge. The break in this arm was specifically intended to prevent water stagnation, whilst providing a shorter communication route for smaller craft using both the Grand and Marsamxetto Harbours.
The steel bridge that links Fort St Elmo to one of the Grand Harbour breakwater arms was fabricated in Spain. The project involved an investment of around €2.8 million by Transport Malta.