The Ministry of Transport says completion of rehabilitation works for a 72 kilometres Limbe-Sandama railway section will delay after Cyclone Freddy damaged the completed infrastructure.
Spokesperson for the ministry, Watson Maingo, has told Zodiak Online on Saturday that cyclone is a great setback to progress of the project since it has damaged bridges and drainage facilities which will require re-working.
Maingo said an assessment is currently underway by the country’s railway concessionaire, Central East African Railway (CEAR) to document the actual damage on the Limbe-Sandama railway line project.
"Indeed the project is going to delay due the damage caused by the cyclone. It has damaged bridges and drainage facilities that were already completed. Due to this, access roads to the site were affected hence making it hard for the workers to access the works fronts thereby slowing down progress," he said.
Maingo has hinted therefore that the damage assessment will likely determine a new deadline and the revised cost for the project whose infrastructure require repair works and sourcing of additional funding.
Traditional Authority Nanseta of Thyolo has attested that the damage is huge in his area and is worried that the development will equally delay prospective business opportunities through rail and growth of Luchenza municipality to a secondary city.
The K10.4 billion railway project commenced in 2017.
Once completed, the project is expected to offer alternative transportation to people along the line after being dormant since 2015 due to heavy flooding that also washed away part of it.