These are the many roads that will be closed for the pope’s visit
If you have been living in a cave for the past six months and just got out, Pope Francis is coming to Malta this weekend.
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The pope is a head of state and his trip is considered a state visit, but driving him around is logistically far more complicated than other heads of state.
The roads he will be driven through will be completely closed off to traffic and cleared of parked cars at least two hours or so before the pope travels through them.
His motorcade will probably cruise down the middle of the road. The itinerary shows it will even drive the wrong way down a couple of streets.
The routes have been meticulously planned down to the last minute. The police, Transport Malta officials and all drivers, including the pope's, will not only follow strict instructions but also the speed limits.
Francis will travel mostly in his official car. However, he will be inside the popemobile in Valletta, Floriana and Gozo.
Car owners will be asked to take their vehicles off the designated roads from today and tomorrow, allowing the armed forces to clear all the roads and buildings the pope will be visiting, for security purposes.
In streets where parking will not be allowed, deliveries will be prohibited and shops and businesses will also have to get by without loading and unloading of goods.
Local councils have been advised to refuse permit applications for road closures and lifters on Saturday and Sunday, as the streets outside the designated route area will have to absorb all the traffic. No roadworks will take place at the weekend.
It looks like Pope Francis is doing quite a road trip, so buckle up. Or even better, remove your seatbelt, put your car in the garage and do not leave the house unless it's to see the Argentine pontiff.
Many areas of Valletta and Floriana will be closed off at particular points throughout the day from 5am until Sunday at 6pm. Roads on the papal route will be closed to traffic several hours before the motorcade passes through them and opened afterwards.
Many main streets in Valletta will be closed on Saturday from 5am to 3pm. These include the stretches from City Gate to Mediterranean Street, from St Christopher to Merchant Street, Archbishop, Old Bakery, St Dominic and St Mark's streets.
The parking area in front of the Central Bank in Valletta will be closed, and so will the stretch from Auberge de Castille square down to the lion's statue in Floriana.
Avoid Floriana if you can. The pope will pass through here multiple times on the way in and out of Valletta and when he celebrates Mass on Sunday morning. Much of Floriana, from Portes de Bombes all the way to St Anne's Street and the Granaries, will be closed off from Friday at 5am to Sunday at 6pm. Parking will definitely be out but the roads may open between the pope's multiple journeys to allow some traffic through, according to police
The Marsa waterfront will be closed off Friday and Saturday because that is where the pope will take the Virtu Ferries catamaran to go to Gozo on Saturday.
Also, avoid driving around the airport and all the way to Valletta on Saturday morning, as Pope Francis lands at 10am and heads straight to the President's Palace in Valletta.
Add December 13 Road and the areas of Rabat and Attard to your list, because at around noon, the pope will have just finished official greetings with the Maltese authorities in Valletta and will be on his way to his residence in Rabat.
Route from Gozo
The Maltese roads will be more relaxed on Saturday afternoon, when Pope Francis will head to Gozo for a prayer meeting at Ta' Pinu sanctuary.
Needless to say, the main roads from the Mġarr ferry all the way to ta' Pinu will be barred to traffic and cleared of vehicles up until the pope boards the Gozo Channel ferry back to Malta.
In Ċirkewwa, he will casually cover the road Gozitans take for work when they cross over to Malta, passing through Marfa, Selmun Hill, Xemxija, St Paul's Bay bypass, Burmarrad and outskirts of Mosta.
He then heads towards Rabat to his residence at the Apostolic Nunciature.
On Sunday morning, the pope will begin his day in St Paul's Grotto, in Rabat, and then heads to the Granaries, where he will celebrate an open-air Mass.
On Sunday afternoon, you will also want to avoid Mrieħel, Marsa, Santa Luċija, Żejtun, Birżebbuġa and Ħal Far, as the pope leaves his Rabat residence to meet migrants at the Laboratory of Peace in Ħal Far.
From there, he will head straight to the airport where his plane takes off at 5.30pm.
The weekend, however, may be the perfect opportunity to ditch your car and take the bus.
Malta Public Transport yesterday announced an increase in bus frequencies over the weekend and also special services in Gozo.