STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
SPECIAL assistant to the President for project implementation and monitoring, Andrew Chellah, yesterday inspected a section of the Great North Road in Lusaka experiencing traffic congestion due
to expansion works and ordered that it be opened up for vehicles to use.
Mr Chellah said members of the public have been complaining about delays because of the 6.3-kilometre diversion on the road between Kabangwe and Zanimuone.
“This is a new method to decongest this section of the road. In as much as this is a development project, we are cognisant of the discomfort this has caused to the public. People now take two to three hours to drive on this short stretch,” Mr Chellah said.
He said Government has simply responded to people’s complaints about congestion on the road.
Mr Chellah said Avic International, the contractor working on the road, underrated the impact of closing the section of the road.
“We don’t doubt the capabilities of Avic. They are a company of international repute and they are equal to the task. It’s just that they did not foresee this problem of traffic congestion,” Mr Chellah said.
He expressed optimism that following the opening up of the section of the road, traffic will now flow smoothly.
But site manager Vincent Jade earlier objected to the idea of opening up part of the road saying it will compromise works.
Mr Vincent argued that he needed one more day to open up the road to vehicles.
“Heavy trucks will damage the road, we need another day to open it up,” he said.
But after engineers from the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the supervising engineer convinced Mr Vincent, he agreed to open up the road.
“Let us open it up at 16:00 hours on trial basis. If there will be any damage, we will then immediately close it,” Mr Vincent said.
In June this year, RDA started works on the Great North Road to turn it into a dual carriageway.