DAR ES SALAAM rapid transit system is steadily taking shape as construction of necessary infrastructure is fast-tracked to ease traffic jams and congestion in the city.
Trunk roads, bus stations and terminals, pedestrian walkways and depots being constructed from Kimara to Kivukoni area along Morogoro road are already giving the Dar city a new look, with phase one of the project nearing completion.
On-going works include construction of 20.9 kilometre special trunk road from Kimara terminal to Kivukoni area, Msimbazi road from Fire to Kariakoo-Gerezani area and a part of Kawawa Road from Magomeni to Morocco junction. "We are happy that phase one of the project is almost coming to an end.
We anticipate starting operations by end of next year and this will give us a sense of direction of where we are heading," said the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Hawa Ghasia at a presentation she made to members of Parliamentary Committee for Regional Administration and Local Government in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.
The Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) project, an ambitious mega venture under financial support of the World Bank and the government was designed to alleviate chronic traffic woes in Dar es Salaam.
The Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport (DART) agency is executing the project that is aligned to Tanzania's development strategy that underscores the need for improved transport infrastructure to achieve social and economic objectives. It comprises of six phases and covers a total of 130 kilometres of road plus two workshops, five main stations and six feeder stations.
The first phase of the construction has been divided into seven work packages awarded to a Chinese construction firm, Beijing International Engineering Group (BCEG) and a German construction company, Strabag. The Chinese firm constructs the Kivukoni depot and feeder stations while the German company constructs the main lanes from Magomeni to Kimara, including 15 bus stops, the Kimara Terminal and the Ubungo Terminal and rehabilitation of the road from Magomeni to Kivukoni.
Strabag will construct the lane on Kawawa Road from Magomeni to Morocco and on Msimbazi Road from Fire to Kariakoo, including 14 bus stops and the Morocco Terminal. It is expected that the combined works on the project including the construction of the road works, buspassenger terminal buildings, feeder stations, utility power relocation will provide some 80,000 jobs by completion in 2015.
The project is expected to save billions of shillings lost daily in traffic jams and provide relief to at least 300,000 Dar es Salaam commuters. In her presentation, Ms Ghasia said construction of the trunk road has so far reached 30 per cent of the planned level in the phase one stage.
She admitted work delays, which she, however, attributed to some problems in architectural designs. She further said construction of the Ubungo bus terminal had not started as a contract with a construction firm lined to do the job had expired. Processes to get another contractor were continuing.
Construction of the bus terminal at Kivukoni area is nearing completion with only some works on the roofing remaining. The members of parliamentary committee commended the government for fast tracking implementation of phase one of the project.
"I must say the government has really shown commitment with Big Results Now projects such as the Bus Rapid Transit. Despite some anomalies spotted at Kivukoni and Ubungo Terminals, the speed and quality of work we have seen onsite so far is superb," the chairman of the committee, Dr Hamis Kigwangalla said after inspection of the construction works.
The committee advised the DART management to ensure that the remaining work was completed within a specified time framework. The committee members suggested also that DART officials should design and develop information packages to enlighten key stakeholders and members of the public about the project and its benefits.