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Drivers’ Tales. We reached a stage where it stopped being funny…



Driving my way from Mellieha is no mere undertaking. Keeping aside the driving habits of most of us Maltesers, the roads we drive our battered vehicles upon are not exactly the epitome of perfection.



I wonder if there is an authority in charge which actually checks, I mean, literally investigates the quality of the asphalt or tarmac, the realistic location of signage, the consistence of road surfaces, the legibility and visibility of street markings, the street lighting, and so on.

Just off the former (now derelict) Belleview site, one reaches a huge roundabout, or what a tourist may describe as a ‘garden-like circular structure’.


Pay double attention as the traffic island leading down to this roundabout, from Mellieha centre, is high and bushy. Its shrubs obstruct your view of any oncoming traffic swerving around the circus - if not for a bus or truck - as the latter are high so slowing down at this stage helps. It is obvious one will need to give way but if driving to work late and in a hurry, you may easily snap the occasion and drive forth into a surprising crash…


Down towards Mistra, you driving by a hideous structure, an Enemalta room or store, situated on the left at the foot of what used to be the road leading to Selmun. This structure has now an ominous cement field all around it, as some genius decided to flatten the green patch of field that adorned its perimeter for future BBQ's, perhaps. Very ugly site indeed. A round of applause goes to MEPA for their stroke of genius, or blindness.

At the Mistra valley we drive over a bridge, albeit few may realize it actually is a bridge. This is an old structure, must be over 40 years old (is it?), or so I reckon. If you drive this road for over 10 years you grow familiar to the cracks alongside this little treacherous stretch. I hope and pray these are nor the tell tale signs of a bridge in distress, and that the regular cement and tarmac resurfacings are not a cosmetic touch-up to hide its advanced dilapidation…



So yes, it seems we are driving through a 'risky' road…and we haven’t yet crossed half the journey to Attard…Xemxija. What a sight! Sporadic structures that look more Middle Eastern than Sounthern European or Mediterranean adorn the hills, boringly designed apartment blocks, especially on the site formerly occupied by the graceful Mistra Village complex. I am not sure but they all seem vacant and so dull.


It shows trucks are very common on these roads. Cement and paint trails along the surface can be seen from as near as the notorious St. Paul’s’ Bay by-pass. What a pity. Recently launched, this road was potentially a cut above the rest on the island. It used to be smooth, pacenzja, as we say in Maltese…it is now peppered with dried cement that give you an annoying vibration on your steering wheel as you drive – making sure you wake up well in the morning…



This by-pass boasts other tricky features, as its partially collapsed part, just overlooking Xemxija bay. A long standing saga of the first part of the road that collapsed, and was never repaired has reached tragicomic state as driving up this stretch of road, just leaving Xemxija, become a duel as the two lane carriage way narrows down instantly in one narrow lane, partially barred by shabby metal barriers.



It takes remarkable driving skills if you happen to be at logger heads with another car on your left, one has to give way…




To be continued…unfortunately, this is just 10 minutes of driving, not the complete trip. Seriously, considering what we pay in road taxes we deserve better, don’t we?


Ray de Bono

Comments

Maria Lewis said…
I look forward to Part 2.... I wonder how the rest of the journey goes? :).... Not much of a prospect for anyone about to test their driving skills on the Maltese roads! Did I just hear myself screech?? :))
Ray de Bono said…
Grazzi tal-feedback

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