Rehabilitation of M5 Road Takes Off
First phase of rehabilitation works on a 60-kilometer stretch of the M5 road from Kaphatenga in Salima to Benga in Nkhotakota have taken off, with the contractor expressing hope the project will be completed within the set two years period.
The contractor, China Railway 20, they are focusing much of its efforts now on erecting bridges as they race against time to beat the rainy season, before embarking on the actual road.
“We want to first put up the bridges before the rains come. We hope to finish this in the coming few months before taking on the road itself.”
During a media tour organized the ministry of information to appreciate road construction projects in the central region, we found works on two bridges; Lipyozi and Navikoko on track, with diversions created.
There is also a major construction of a box culvert at Kamzanga stream, which is mostly cut off during rainy season.
The government of Malawi will spend K37 billion on the 60-kilometer stretch.
DC for Salima James Mwenda who represented Nkhotakota and Salima district councils said that when completed the road section will address many challenges motorists face.
Other than this, he said communities in the two districts are also benefiting from the project.
“The works that you are seeing are largely done by the locals, Our people are being employed to work for the contractor,” said Mwenda.
The M5 road popularly known as the lake shore road, from Salima turn-off in Ntcheu to Nkhata-Bay, is in bad shape and has turned into a death trap for motorists.
The government plans to rehabilitate it in four phases, beginning with the Kaphatenga – Benga stretch, then from Benga to Dwangwa in Nkhotakota. The third phase will be from Dwangwa to Mkwiya in Nkhata-Bay and lastly from Kamuzu road in Salima to Ntcheu.
The government is currently looking for financiers for the remaining three phases.
Another road construction project we visited during the media tour is the Dzaleka-Ntchisi-Malomo road. Here one woman, Mary Ganizani, told us they face many challenges on this stretch.
Said Ganizani; “Our road is in bad shape, we struggle a lot to get to the hospital and we believe this project will help us a lot.”
However, it was evident during the tour that, the fuel crisis the country is facing has taken a toll on the project.
The contractors for the two projects admitted that the fuel scarcity has slowed down progress. They, however said, government has assured them that they would be allowed to start importing fuel and cement.
For past two weeks, the Malawi has also been struggling with Cement shortages a thing attributed to forex challenges. This forced traders to hike prices of the commodity, from 11 000 Kwacha to around 20 000 Kwacha.