(By Edwin Mbulo in Kazungula)
THE US$174 million Kazungula bridge construction project is at 83 per cent complete and is hoped to be completed in December, says projects assistant resident engineer Joseph Nyirenda.
And Kazungula district commissioner Pascalina Musokotwane says the Mazabuka-Chikankata road construction project is part of the Kazungula
Speaking during a tour of the project by Livingstone based journalists, who attended a ‘SADC success story writing workshop funded by the EU and the German government, Nyirenda said after completion of the
bridge, there would be increased cross-border movements which would in turn lead to development of the business sector.
“We are currently standing at 83 per cent complete on package one, and we are hoping that we should be able to complete the project by the end of the year…. Of course, there have been some delays and much of them have been technical…. Package 3, we are about 64 per cent done then package two we are almost nearly there, we are about 94 per cent done,” Nyirenda said.
He told the journalists who were led by Lubasi Mungandi, who is foreign affairs assistant director in-charge of regional integration and Ministry of Information’s Betniko Kayaya, that the project also has two other components which were the construction of one-boarder-posts in Zambia and Botswana.
“Package two (Botswana one-border-post) being financed by JICA at a cost of 400 million pula and packed package 3 (Zambia’s one-border-post) is being financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to a tune of K264 million,” he said.
“The system of the one border system is actually to reduce congestion because at the moment there is a lot of congestion because there is a pontoon and people here can be marooned for seven days, so to reduce that time we have one boarder post. What it means is that you stop only once…. It is envisaged that if we operate in such a way, we would have reduced time from seven days to about two hours. The intention is that we would have achieved having our goods competitively,” Nyirenda said.
Musokotwane said the bridge construction had come at a right time and scoffed at some people who were just bent on condemning anything that was being implemented by the PF government.
She said the project was at the heart of President Edgar Lungu and that he knew what was happening at the site on a daily basis.
Musokotwane added that the interest of Zimbabwe to be part of the project showed the significance of the project to the SADC region.
“The project will boost this country and I don’t think that Zambia will remain a landlocked nation looking at the bridge itself because it’s going to link us to so many countries,” she said.
Musokotwane said the Kazungula bridge was unique in
that it was sitting at a place where four countries – Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia – meet.
“With the coming of the project, it will boost the economy of this country and the SADC region in particular,” she said.
Musokotwane also revealed that the Kazungula Bridge Authority (KBA) would be created to administer the bridge operations.
“I don’t know if people know that the Mazabuka-Chikankata road rehabilitation is part of the Kazungula bridge project. But looking where the project is, people might think how come when the bridge is in Kazungula and this road project is that side…. The PF has done a lot,
especially in terms of the road infrastructure which is the only way the country can be developed,” she said.
The bridge is being constructed by a Korean firm, Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company.