Bridges of thanks: RDA thanks JICA for technical, financial support to selected bridges



WITHOUT much thought, one can easily trash a bridge as an insignificant piece of infrastructure that is there maybe for road adornment. But the truth, without delving into engineering intricacies, is that bridges are as essential as the roads on which they are erected.

And, yes, as necessary as the rivers on which they are built across. Think of these precarious situations: crossing Chambeshi River between Mpika and Kasama, Zambezi River between Sesheke and Sioma, Kafue River between Kafue town and Mazabuka, Kafue River between Kitwe and Ndola, Kafue River between Mumbwa and Kaoma, Luapula River between Chitambo and Samfya, Magoye River between Mazabuka and Monze, Lukulu River between Kasama and Luwingu and many more.

Without bridges across the aforementioned distances and elsewhere where there are rivers, marine deaths would have been commonplace in various parts of the country.

One can put up the argument of pontoons. But the fact that such watercrafts are not operated 24/7 quickly invalidates such an argument.

So it is bridges, as we know them, which matter, thanks to their convenience during both day and night times.

Maybe I should conceive and popularise a saying that ‘he who builds you a bridge extends your life expectancy?’ Consider it done! Zambia, 752,614 square kilometres in size, has many rivers and streams which flow around or along her.

It is for that reason that over 456 major bridges have been built across the country’s over 40,000 kilometres of gazetted core road network.

To those figures, add the over 3,000 culverts on the existing road network. But here is the point; having these bridges without a strategy to sustain their wellbeing is almost like not having them, in the first place. So there is Road Development Agency (RDA), functional since 2002, which is upholding its core mandate of constructing and rehabilitating public roads and bridges in Zambia.

Actually, RDA acting communications and corporate affairs director Anthony Mulowa says the agency has a huge responsibility to ensure that culverts, bridges and the road network itself are in a good state.

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