By Pilirani Kachinziri:
Roads Authority (RA) has disclosed that they need K4.6 billion to repair main roads and bridges that have been damaged due to floods which hit the country last week, mainly in the Southern Region.
Apart from damaging houses and road infrastructure, the floods, which started on March 4, have also claimed 56 lives and affected 184,589 households, according to Department of Disaster Management Affairs.
RA spokesperson, Portia Kajanga, said the assessment of rural roads was underway and a report, including an estimated budget, would be submitted later.
“The Authority would like to emphasise that contractors have been engaged and deployed to various sites on all the main roads damaged by floods.
“As a result of varying degrees of damage, progress and completion of works will also vary. The total amount of funds is required is estimated at K4.6 billion for the identified road works,” she said.
Among the damaged infrastructure is the M1 Road next to Kamuzu Bridge in Chikwawa, East Bank Road from Thabwa to Fatima, Robert Mugabe Road, Mangochi-Makanjira Road in Mangochi and the Mpatamanga Bridge on the Chileka-Mwanza Road.
Kajanga said the M1 Road in Chikwawa has been completely cut off. However, a diversion has been constructed to ensure that traffic flow is not interrupted between Chikwawa and Blantyre.
“The contractor, Plem Construction, is on site and is working on reinstating the main road by installing box culverts. The works are estimated to cost about K 600 million,” she said.
For the East Bank Road, Kajanga said the road was submerged at a number of sections and the contractor was working on temporary diversions.
“Several drifts were washed away, rendering the road impassable. There will be need of extra 11 concrete culverts at an estimated cost of K2 billion to be funded by the Government of Malawi in addition to the current World Bank funding,” she said.
For Robert Mugabe Road, Kajanga said it was affected at Thuchira, where there is an on-going contract by Fargo Limited to construct a new bridge.
“The assessment, therefore, has revealed that there is need for additional funds estimated at K500 million to increase the number of spans of the new bridge being constructed,” she said.
Another damaged road was Mangochi-Makanjira in Mangochi, where Kajanga said four bridges were washed away, rendering Makanjila area completely cut off from Mangochi Boma.
“The contractor, Mota Engil, has been engaged to construct diversions and repair the four washed away bridges. It is estimated that a total of K1 billion will be required at an estimate of K250 million per bridge.”
Kajanga said Mpatamanga Bridge on the Chileka-Mwanza Road was also washed away and Mota Engil is constructing a diversion and repairing the bridge, with the project estimated to cost K500 million for the bailey bridge only.