THE road network in Lusaka is to undergo a major facelift that will gobble about K1.7 trillion. The contract for the rehabilitation of 400 kilometres of road network was sealed yesterday between the Road Development Agency (RDA) and AVIC International of China.
The works which are expected to transform the road network in Lusaka, will start in the next two weeks and be completed in 2015. The works, are also expected to enhance smoother flow of traffic, would include, among others, road expansion and drainage works.
The deal would come as a major relief for many road users around the city as heavy traffic on most Lusaka roads has become an acute problem particularly the roads leading into the central business district.
The project involves the rehabilitation of about 400 km of existing roads, including widening of 36 km roads, 366 km road pavement on existing embankment roads and newly built 90 km sidewalk.
The works would also involve maintaining and building new road drainage systems, traffic control and rearrangement of 10 road inter-sections.
Additionally, 19 bus bays and relevant safety and traffic facilities, one inter-change bridge concept design and 150 km road lighting system, would be covered under the work scope.
The contract was signed in Lusaka yesterday at Southern Sun Hotel.
And speaking after the signing ceremony, Lusaka Mayor Daniel Chisenga said the scope of the works involved widening of selected roads that had a high volume of traffic, improving selected roads to and within the industrial and commercial areas.
Mr Chisenga said Kafue roundabout would be provided with an inter-change as a solution to traffic congestion on the road.
"I am glad that today we are embarking on a programme that will transform the road network in our city. This development is delighting because the rehabilitation of these roads will not only ease our movements but also enhance safety and reduce congestion on our major roads.
"Most of our smaller roads which could serve as alternative routes are avoided by motorists because they are in a poor state but all this will be a thing of the past once the project is completed," Mr Chisenga said.
He said the Lusaka City Council (LCC) would work hand-in-hand with the RDA to ensure the project was executed within the stipulated time frame and to meet the prescribed standards and quality.
"I wish to appeal to the RDA to ensure the people of Lusaka and the nation get value for money and to the contractor, I wish to say that you have a mammoth task to work on the urban roads in Lusaka which have been neglected for many years. We will accord you the necessary support and we don't expect anything less than satisfaction," he said.
He appealed to road users in the city to exercise patience as the road works commenced and that despite expected inconveniences, this would be meant to ensure a good road network that would absorb the volume of traffic.
He urged residents to guard against vandalism of road infrastructure and signage that would be put in place.
AVIC International country director Gong Jiayan assured that after the completion of the works, the traffic condition in Lusaka would be improved.
Mr Gong was gratified to partner in the development of road infrastructure in Lusaka.
He said with a track record of working in Zambia for the past 30 years, AVIC was committed to deliver to the expectations of stakeholders.
He said local contractors would be sub-contracted and that works would be handed over every after 10km was done while a package of equipment for city roads would be handed over to the LCC.
Another full set of road construction and maintenance equipment would be handed over to the RDA after the completion of the project.
The Government has already finalised another arrangement with the Japanese government to construct a ring-road network in Lusaka. This project is expected to start in October.