Editor's note: an important recent ministerial statement on the 'Road Rehabilitation and Construction in Zambia' by the Transport Minister Yamfwa Mukanga MP. This is an helpful and unfiltered statement on where road construction is at present. We have made some minor editorial changes to enhance readability.
The Road Development Agency (RDA) was established by the Public Roads Act No.12 of 2002 with the following specific functions: "To provide for the care, maintenance and construction of public roads in Zambia; to regulate maximum weights permissible for transport on roads; and to provide for matters connected with and incidental to the foregoing"
The RDA commenced operations in 2006 and it is responsible for the care and maintenance of the entire classified road network of 67,67lkm of roads but has however, concentrated its efforts on a Core Road Network (CRN) of 40,454km. The Core Road Network, as defined by Road Sector Investment Programme of 2003 (RoadSlP II), is the minimum network required to spur economic development in to Zambia.
The Government of the Republic of Zambia through my Ministry which supervises the RDA; is implementing a number of major projects with the aim of creating: (1) Connectivity; (2) Accessibility; (3) The lowering of the total transport costs; (4) Reduction in transit times; and, (5) Poverty reduction through job and wealth creation for the majority of Zambians.
The Major Projects and Programmes being implemented by Government include Link Zambia 8O0O, Pave Zambia 2OOO, L400 Project, the Kazungula Bridge Project, Axle Load Control and the National Tolling Prograjnme.
The Patriotic Front Government has allocated a total of K4.94 billion to the Road Sector in the Road Sector Budget which comprises of local and external resources. The Government has so far released a total of K1.82 billion for the various on-going projects in the 2014 Road Sector Annual Work PIan. This represents 37 per cent of the total road sector budget for 2014.
The Patriotic Front Government initiated the Link Zambia 8000 Programme in 2012 with the aim of transforming Zambia from being landlocked into a truly land-Iinked country in Southern Africa. The Programme involves upgrading to bituminous standard of approximately 8000 km of roads thereby linking districts and provinces throughout Zambia.
The PF Government has so far engaged a number of contractors to carry out rehabilitation and up grading works on Link Zambia. To date over 1,900km of roads with a total cost of about K7.1 billion have been procured under Link Zambia. The works are at different stages of implementation. Feasibiiity studies and designs are currently ongoing on over 2,600 km of roads. It envisaged that construction works will commence after detailed designs.
The programme aims at creating not less than 24,OOO jobs especially among the youths. It also aims at promoting the growth of local contracting industry and contributing to the reduction of Road User Costs (RUCS) and transit times across Zambia with a resultant creation of economic growth poles and wealth in outlying areas of Zambia. The programme has so far created over 18,000 jobs in the road sector especially among the youths.
In addition, arising from the 20 per cent sub contracting policy, the Government of the Republic of Zambia through RDA has created opportunities for local construction companies who are participating in road construction activities. Through this policy, it is expected that local road construction capacity will be enhanced especially amongst the indigenous road construction firms.
The Road Tolling programme, which commenced on 1st November 2013 under the PF leadership, has continued to provide additional revenues for road maintenance. From the programme inception to date, a total of K180.5 million has been collected from the toll points iodated at the weighbrdge stations and ports of entry.
The Government within the month of September 2014 will commence the construction of Toil Plazas at nine (09) designated locations on the Road Network out of the approved twenty six (26). This development will lead to even more revenues for road maintenance.
The Pave Zambia Project is on course. The Government has not limited its projects to Urban areas. It has gone further to the provinces where the installation of equipment has been completed in 9 Provinces except Muchinga Province. The Government has so far released a total of K26 million for the Programme from a total budget of K40 million.
The manufacture of paving blocks has already commenced in Lusaka. Some of the location points include the Freedom Statue, Chawama, Bishop Road and Bauleni.
The L4O0 is a US$348 million project covering over 400km of roads in Lusaka Distdct. The project commenced in June 2013 and is expected to be completed by January 2017. L400 project once completed will help in reducing premature congestion and will also improve drainage in the city of Lusaka. So far, a total of 20km of roads has been completed. Works are curently on going on the planned expansion of the Burma, Chilumbulu and Kasama Roads.
The Kazungula Bride Project is another major project that the PF Government has embarked on. The evaluation process of the Kazungula Bridge Project is ongoing. It is anticipated that it will be completed by the end August, 2014 with works on the bridge commencing thereafter.
The RDA has the mandate to ensure preservation of the Road and Bridge Infrastructure through regulating the maximum permissible weight carried on Zambian Public Roads. It is in this regard that it has allocated funds for the construction and rehabilitation of weighbddges at strategic locations on the road network. The rehabilitation of the Kazungula, Kapiri Mposhi and the Old Kafue weighbridges are now complete.
Construction of a new weighbridge in Chongwe will commence in the 3rd quarter of 2014.The compliance level on overloading on the road network stands at 96 per cent. The acceptable compliance level is 95 per cent.
The current road rehabilitation arrd construction in Zambia that are being implemented by the Patriotic Front Government are carefully thought out projects stemming from the visionary leadership of our President, His Exceliency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata and his Cabinet.
The PF Government remains committed to transforming Zambia into an economic giant of the region and beyond. To this end, the PF Government has prioritised the high economic routes and these being the North South Corridor (through the Great North Road to Nakonde) and the Nacala Corridor through the Great East Road. Sustainable financing for road maintenance will be guaranteed through the National Tolling Programme.
Allow me to conclude by reaffirming that the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications through the Road Development Agency willl work tirelessly to ensure that we get good quality roads. It is also hoped that the newly introduced vendor rating system for works and services by the RDA will ensure and guarantee quality in the design and construction works.
(Source : National Assembly)
Are you pleased with the progress being made by Government in road rehabilitation and construction? What areas of the programme would you like GRZ to pay more attention?