Covid-19, Cyclones Delay Limbe-Sandama Railway Project

Part of the railway line Part of the railway line - file photo

Ministry of Transport and Public Works has attributed Covid-19 restrictions and recent cyclones as major factors that have delayed the completion of Limbe-Sandama railways line which was slated for May 2022.

Ministry' spokesperson Maganizo Liwewe told Zodiak Online on Monday that due to Covid 19 restrictions, contractor Central East African Railway (CEAR) downsized workforce before cyclones affected access to the sites.

Liwewe has however said that the government is engaging (CEAR) on the new time frame for the completion of a 72 kilometres railway section.

“With Covid 19, government issued guidelines at construction sites and those guidelines were a limitation that meant that the contractor had to reduce the number of workers which affected the implementation progress.

"But more recently, the flooding caused by this year's rainfall the two cyclones Ana and Gombe affected access to the project site the contractor was not able to transfer materials to the site," Liwewe said.

However, Liwewe is upbeat the project will be completed in time since the contractor has started deploying equipment.

Meanwhile, Traditional Authority Nanseta of Thyolo, while commending government for reviving the railway line, says the rehabilitation should be fast-tracked to spur business activities in the district.

"The project is ideal for easy transportation and businesses in the area. It was the vision for the former leaders to ensure railway network.

“I’m so happy for the continuation of the project from Limbe to Nansadi which I believe once completed it will help a lot of people here which would also enable the country to develop," T/A Nanseta said.

The project which commenced in 2017 is costing taxpayers K10. 4 billion.

Once completed, the railway line is expected to offer alternative transportation to people along the line which have been dormant since 2015 due to heavy flooding that washed away part of it. 

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