GOVERNMENT has embarked on 'Pave Zambia 2000', an ambitious programme with an initial capital of K150 billion, meant to develop township roads countrywide.
This comes barely a month after President Michael Sata launched the K27 trillion 'Link Zambia-8000' road project that will connect outlying areas of Zambia in all the 10 provinces and boost interlink trade.
Finance Minister, Alexander Chikwanda, announced during the presentation of this year's national Budget about a week ago, that Government had planned to pave about 2, 000 kilometres of township roads using labour-intensive paving blocks and cobblestone technology.
Mr Chikwanda had said that this environmentally friendly and labour-intensive technology would be piloted in 15 sites across the 10 provinces and that this would create more than 20, 000 jobs.
Road Development Agency (RDA) Head of Public Relations, Loyce Saili said in a statement yesterday that 'Pave Zambia 2000' is expected to be launched before the end of the year.
Ms Saili said this will cover 2000 kilometres of selected roads in residential areas using interlocking concrete blocks.
Ms Saili said the Ministry of Local Government and Housing would identify suitable sites for locating block manufacturing plants in all the provinces and sites for other materials such as gravel and quarry dust.
She said Government had since made available an initial capital of K150 billion for the purchase of the equipment and other start-up expenses.
RDA has already completed the procurement process for 15 segmented paving block-laying machines and 13 block-manufacturing plants.
The agency will also procure 15 water bowsers, 15 motor graders, 13 front loaders and 13 tipper trucks.
"This project comes against the backdrop of the poor state of most urban roads. A recent review of the condition of urban roads revealed that 60 per cent of the urban road network is in poor condition," she said.
Ms Saili said it was envisaged that the cost of constructing paved roads would be lower than the conventional road construction technology which was bituminous and based on asphalt specifications.
'Pave Zambia 2000' project will jointly be implemented by the ministries of Transport, Works and Supply and Communications; Local Government and Housing, and Finance through RDA.
Ms Saili said the development of road infrastructure using concrete blocks was more environmentally friendly.