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VANDALISM OF BRIDGES WORRIES MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND PUBLIC WORKS

By our reporter

On Monday, February 13, 2023, the minister of transport and public works, Hon, Jacob MP, visited the M05 road project that the Chakwera-led administration is rehabilitating. The 60 km road project, which begins from Kaphatenga in Salima to some kilometers after Benga in Nkhotakota, is expected to be completed by November 2024. The Ministry of Transport and Public Works through The Roads Authority has contracted China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation for this current phase of work, which will also include the rehabilitation of all bridges along the M05

The project is expected to benefit not only those traveling along the M05 but also bring greater economic development to local communities by providing more job opportunities and increased access to services. It is encouraging to see the Chakwera-led administration’s commitment to delivering this vital infrastructure project for the benefit of the people of Malawi.

It was sad, however, to note that the vandalism of bridges is continuing in the area. The famous Lipsodzi Bridge is being destroyed by villagers who extort cash from motorists under the guise of helping them across the damaged bridge. We have put in place some temporary works on the bridges and places where steel Armco culverts were vandalized so that the road is usable. This is a temporary measure until the contractor can start major earthworks.  I have also instructed the police to make sure that the timber on the repaired bridges is kept secure.

The Minister also inspected the new weighbridge that the ministry is constructing along the M05. It is expected that this bridge will help to minimize road maintenance costs and reduce the risk of accidents related to overloaded trucks.

Lastly, the Hon Minister visited Nkhata Bay Port, which is, unfortunately, in a very bad state. Mota Engil was granted a concession for the port in 2013, with the expectation that they would upgrade and modernize it, as well as handle its management. Sadly, it is evident that not enough progress has been made and the port remains in a state of disrepair, and as a government, we now feel the need to review the concession agreement. My ministry will, thus, work on a plan that will see the government repossess all the ports in Malawi, including Chipoka, which has been closed for 7 years now.

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