Airport tunnel on track to open by end March, Parliament told

The airport tunnel is on track to be opened “as from the end of this month”, Parliament was told on Wednesday.

While the date had been flagged previously, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo confirmed the opening of a long-awaited project dogged by delays over many years remained unchanged.

Mr Picardo was responding to a question from GSD MP Damon Bossino, who asked the government whether it had any plans to refurbish the Sundial roundabout given it was at the entrance to Gibraltar and offered a poor welcome in its rundown state.

Mr Picardo said that at a time of deficit, the government was obliged to prioritise its spending.

He added too that with several major projects in the area, it would be unwise in any event to refurbish a roundabout that would be surrounded by construction works for the next two years.

But in any event, the main entry route to Gibraltar was about to change within a fortnight.

“The first roundabout you're going to hit when you come into Gibraltar is not the Sundial roundabout anymore,” Mr Picardo said.

“As from the end of this month before we are back [in Parliament] for questions, the tunnel will have opened.”

“So a huge new roundabout, planned not by us but by them when they were in government, in the area of Eastern Beach is going to be facilitated, is being planted, will have lights, etc etc.”

“And the first point in which people will be in Gibraltar under our magnificent North Face will be at that Beach View Terrace/Eastern Beach roundabout and the Sundial will be somewhere else in an area which will be covered in construction for the better part of the next 18 to 24 months.”

And he added: “There are many things to do in Gibraltar that cost a lot of money.”

“Government is about prioritising that spending.”

“And when we prioritise that spending, it may not be visible that we spend on something else which matters more, but it matters more.”