Road expansion works to miss deadlines

Transport and Public Works Minister Jacob Hara Wednesday said some of the Lilongwe roads that are being expanded will not meet the deadline of March 2023. LWB officials earlier indicated that it would cost K5.9 billion to relocate pipes for Mzimba Street and Kenyatta Drive, with the expectation to conclude all pipe relocation works by January 2023.

Transport and Public Works Minister Jacob Hara Wednesday said some of the Lilongwe roads that are being expanded will not meet the deadline of March 2023.

Hara said failure by service providers to relocate equipment has delayed expansion works for Kenyatta and Mzimba Streets in the Capital City.

He made the remarks when he toured the project sites, where he engaged contractors on possible solutions to fast-track projects which have stalled for sometime

“It is obvious that we will not be able to surface the roads before the rains but we will work on them to a base level and come back to finish after the rains,” he said.

Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) Director of Infrastructure Maclean Nyang’wa told the minister that there was a need for the provision of pipes to assist in relocating old pipes in order not to disrupt water flow to catchment areas.

LWB officials earlier indicated that it would cost K5.9 billion to relocate pipes for Mzimba Street and Kenyatta Drive, with the expectation to conclude all pipe relocation works by January 2023

Apart from relocating the services, one of the contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, said fuel shortage has contributed to the delays.

Reports indicate that, on a normal day, the contractor uses a minimum of 2,500 litres and a maximum of 5,000 litres but that has not been the case due to the fuel crisis experienced recently.

The expansion works being undertaken on the three targeted roads include construction of an additional bridge along Lingadzi River and partial cloverleaf interchange to replace the roundabout at KCH Petroda filling Station.

President Lazarus Chakwera launched the projects last year with the 4.1 kilometre (km) six-lane Kenyatta Drive project scheduled to be completed in March 2023 from September 2021 at a cost of K19.7 billion.

The Mzimba Street six-lane capacity improvement project covers 4km at a cost of K9.9 billion and was expected to be completed in March 2023 from April 2022 while the four-lane M1 Road costs K22.5 billion to cover 10km up until December 2024.

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