Redesign of the Grand Harbour breakwater

Date : 2008

photomontage of proposed bridge

The original two-span steel viaduct, erected at the turn of the Twentieth Century in Victorian style, was partly destroyed during an E-boat attack by the Reggia Marina during the Second World War; the remainder was subsequently removed afterwards. To-date, the remaining structures are the two abutments, still in a good state of repair, and the central, highly deteriorated pier.

The Design Proposal for the Grand Harbour Breakwater Bridge issued by the Malta Maritime Authority in conjunction with the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation, noted that the "advanced deterioration [of the remains] renders the scope of any restoration to be ineffective". Thus, the design proposal stated that the redesign "presents [an] opportunity for a more modern, lighter structure".


The proposed design concept was in line with the brief: a single span bridge built on existing but refurbished abutments. It is a stainless steel tensile structure which serves as a footpath between the two abutments. The solution is simple but elegant and easy to maintain, an imperative consideration in light of the aggressive saline environment that the structure will be exposed to. It is a steel drawbridge, a gateway to the Grand Harbour, which is one of the largest natural series of historical harbours, the haven of the unsinkable carrier which served the navies of the major powers ferrying in the Mediterranean Sea for several centuries.