14 January 2013

Tanzania: Dar Residents Posed for More Traffic Jams

CITY dwellers using the Morogoro and Bibi Titi Mohamed roads should brace for yet prolonged traffic congestions due to ongoing construction of infrastructure for the Dar es Salaam's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Strabag International Tanzania GmbH, the contractor implementing the mega project, announced over the weekend traffic diversions at the busy Ubungo Bus Terminal area and the junction of Morogoro and Bibi Titi roads, starting on Monday.

The project, whose implementation has been dragging for several years, finally kicked off last year and has been going on at a snail's pace attracting anger and criticism among city residents who blame the contractor for delaying construction while demolishing a large part of the Morogoro road.

As a result of the construction work, users of Morogoro road in particular have been subjected to prolonged traffic jams along the highway, spending more hours on the road than ever.

The project, which is expected to transport some 300,000 passengers daily upon completion in 2015, has also had its design modified.Just last week, the World Bank released additional 100 million US dollars (over 159.8bn/-) to back the project.

This is in addition to 290 million US dollars (over 463.5bn/-) that was initially disbursed for the project.Some city residents have continued to complain against the performance of the contractor (Strabag International).

"Three months have gone now and we don't even know if we are going to resume operations here," said Ilyas Abdallah, a Manager at Total Tanzania Limited, Akiba filling station in the city's central business district.

Mr Abdallah said access to the filling station has been blocked for over three months now and all the 12 attendants have been sent on unpaid leave. "But World Bank's Transport Specialist in Dar es Salaam, Mr Yonas Mchomvu, said the project is on schedule.

"We are happy with the momentum of implementation of the BRT infrastructure as all works contracts have been awarded and construction is proceeding," Mr Mchomvu noted in a statement earlier this week.

The project which was designed by M/S Logit of Brazil in association with M/S Interconsult of Tanzania after a competitive selection process, will involve 148 buses with the capacity of 140 passengers each.

The buses will operate on the main trunk routes between Kimara and Kigamboni ferry, a 20.9 kilometres distance while other 100 buses with the capacity of 60 passengers will feed the main route.

The BRT is expected to replace over 1,800 public commuter buses (daladalas) operating on the commercial capital's roads which force commuters to take up to three hours to cover the 20.9kms main road.

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