By Chrissy Fereciah Nkumba
The Roads Authority says preparations are underway to resume construction works for Lirangwe-Chingale-Machinga road which stalled in March 2021 when the contract with Portuguese contractor Mota – Engil was terminated.
Public Relations Officer for Roads Authority Portia Kajanga told Mining & Trade Review that RA repackaged the remaining works for the project as “Upgrading of Lirangwe – Chipini Road to bitumen standards” which was put to tender in July this year.
“The works will involve earthworks, culvert installation, construction of lined side drains, bridges, road over rail-bridge and bitumen surfacing,” Kajanga said
Kajanga said the benefits of road project will include prevention of exposure to dust which is associated with lung infections, ease of transportation to public amenities all weather, creation of jobs for communities, creation and improvement of small scale businesses, and infrastructure improvement in the area.
Kajanga did not reveal the reasons for the termination of the contract with Mota- Engil but media reports indicated that there were hiccups for the contractor to complete the project in time.
Prior to 2014, the road had a gravel surface in poor condition and the then President Joyce Banda laid a foundation stone for the work to commence.
However, work progressed very slowly. Banda’s successor Arthur Peter Mutharika also laid a stone marking the commencement of work in 2018.
As of February 2018, only 11 percent of the work had been completed, though the initial completion date was September 2019.
The 62 km road will connect the M1 at Lirangwe in Blantyre District and the M3, a few kilometres from Machinga District Council.
The other roads in pipeline in Malawi include the upgrading the Nsanje-Marka Road which isapproximately 25.9 km earth/gravel road to bitumen standards. The road is part of a regional route connecting Malawi with the Port of Beira in Mozambique and beyond.
The Malawi Roads Authority also intends to rehabilitate/reconstruct and widen the Kaphatenga– Dwangwa Road in Nkhotakota District in the central Region of Malawi. The work will also involve replacing single lane and temporary bridges with permanent two lane bridges for the section spanning from Nkhotakota to Bua Bridge. The road will be widened to a new cross-section.
The Malawi Government will also embark on a project to construct the Mzimba – Eswazini –Mzarangwe road.This is a section on the main road designated M022.The road is approximately 45km and will be constructed to bitumen standard. This is one of the key roads in the Northern Region of Malawi as a trade route.
There is also the construction of Chiringa-Muloza Road project which is an important trade route.The road begins at Chiringa, then continues southwards along the eastern foot of the Mulanje Massif closely following the existing T415 road alignment, crossing several rivers and streams and finally joining the M2 road.
The other project in pipeline is the upgrading of Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa road. Traversing a length of 272 km, the project will upgrade two roads designated as Main roads (M24 road from Rumphi District – Nyika and M09 from Nyika- Chitipa. Currently the road is of earth standard and will be upgraded to bitumen Class 1.