The Government is expected to issue the pre-qualification questionnaire for the construction and operation of the Malta-Gozo tunnel in the first weeks of the new year.
The pre-qualification questionnaire is one of the initial stages of what is expected to be a long procurement process to select the contractor who will be building, operating and maintaining this permanent underground road link between Malta and Gozo for a pre-defined number of years.
Whilst several studies about this project, including social impact assessment showing an overwhelming public support for this project, have already been published, the pre-qualification questionnaire should include more information about the Government’s plans for this tunnel. A highly-anticipated document will surely be the conceptual design of the proposed tunnel structure, which will guide bidders in submitting their proposals for the project.
At this stage, companies or consortia interested in bidding for this mega project will be invited to prove they have the necessary technical and financial capability, and an adequate level of experience in similar tunnel projects. Participants who meet the applicable requirements and pass this stage, will then be invited to proceed to the next phases, where they will submit detailed technical and financial proposals for the project.
The pre-qualification questionnaire will follow a pre-information notice which was published in the European Union’s official journal by Infrastructure Malta in December 2018. When asked about the progress of the Malta-Gozo Tunnel, Government sources confirmed that the pre-qualification questionnaire will be published in the same journal “within the next few days”.
In a parliamentary session on 8 October, the government announced that a total of four studies, including a geological and geotechnical investigation, had been published.
The project has faced some backlash, including from the Opposition, who said that consensus on the project should not take precedence over careful studies ensuring that such a project is feasible and sustainable.
Support for the tunnel is very strong among 2017 Labour Party voters, with 74.7% agreeing with the project. On the other hand, 48.8% of Nationalist Party voters said they agreed with the tunnel, with 37.9% giving the project the thumbs down.