Government has commissioned the Kafue Hook Bridge, linking Lusaka and Mongu in Western Province, which has been rehabilitated at a cost of over K167.4 million.
Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Charles Milupi, commissioned the bridge on Wednesday.
The Kafue Hook Bridge is an important crossing point linking Lusaka, Central and Western Provinces to the rest of the country.
The crossing point is a 6-span steel-concrete composite bridge with a total length of 270 metres across the Kafue River and is in the Kafue National Park in Mumbwa District of Central Province.
Milupi said the bridge was first constructed with the support of the People’s Republic of China and was commissioned by the First Republican President of Zambia, the late Dr. Kenneth Kaunda on May 24, 1973.
He said the rehabilitation works of this bridge commenced on October 15, 2015 and was scheduled to be completed on October 24, 2017.
“However, the project had been suspended five times during implementation, resulting in a stoppage period of four years, one month, and three weeks.
With the coming of the New Dawn government in August 2021, the works were restarted on November 19, 2021 and completed on March 4, 2023,” Milupi said.
Milupi further said government is currently carrying out holding maintenance works on various roads using the Road Development Agency (RDA) Regional Offices in the respective Provinces to ensure that the road network does not deteriorate further as the treasury sources for funds to carry out major repair works.
He said government has plans to work on Lusaka-Mongu Road especially on the section from Tateyoyo to Katunda; Katunda-Lukulu-Watopa-Mumbezhyi Road; Tapo-Kalabo-Sikongo-Angola Border Road; and Livingstone-Sesheke Road once the treasury sources the required funds.
“The government has plans to work on the following roads in Central Province subject to availability of funds: Landless Corner-Mumbwa-Kasempa Road; Nampundwe-Blue Lagoon Road; and Kabwe-Ngabwe Road,” Milupi said.
He said the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway, which passes through Central Province, will also be worked on using a Public Private Partnerships (PPP) model once the Concessionaire reaches financial closure.
Central Province Minister, Credo Nanjuwa, said the bridge is critical to the movement of goods and services between Central and other Provinces.
He said there is need to improve the road network in the province so as to support the agriculture sector especially in the remote areas.
Western Province Minister, Kapelwa Mbangweta, said the people of Western Province were happy with the completion of works on the bridge.
Mbangweta said efforts should now be directed towards working on the key roads that were in a poor state.
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RDA Board of Directors Chairperson, Eng. Mulchand Kuntawala, said the original contract sum for the rehabilitation of the bridge was K147,539,014.61, with a construction period of 24 months to be completed by October 14, 2017.
Kuntawala said during project implementation, the revised contract sum and completion date increased to K167,463,918.10 and March 4, 2023, respectively.
“This major delay of over five and half years from the original date of completion was primarily due to the inconsistent allocation of funds. Even the temporary bridge had started to become a permanent bridge,” he said.
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