21 April 2014

Zambia: New-Look Kapiri Weigh Bridge to Spur Economic Activities

CENTRAL Province administration's vision is to make the province the centre and hub of national development is in line with the Central Government policy.

Currently various developmental projects such as construction of roads, health centres, and other infrastructure in various parts of the country are underway and Central Province has not been left out.

The Government was demonstrating its desire to not only improve the state of health facilities, schools and other infrastructure but more importantly it was interested to preserve the roads under construction at a huge cost.

To clearly demonstrate its commitment to the Zambian people, recently the Government re-opened the refurbished Kapiri-Mposhi weigh bridge which was closed in March last year to pave way for the construction works that have transformed the facility to a state-of-the-art facility that the Government and transporters can be proud of.

The facility was in poor state before but the Government, transport operators and residents of Kapiri Mposhi now have something to smile about looking at the transformation of the facility, which has also added beauty to the district.

While the Kapiri-Mposhi junction has been re engineered with increased road lanes and traffic lights to allow free flow of traffic around the weighbridge, while separate entries and queuing and storage of vehicles has been created.

The weighbridge which was refurbished and up-graded at a cost of K31 million by a Chinese construction company, Sino Hydro who was contracted by the Road Development Agency (RDA) to carry out the works.

The capacity of the old weigh-bridge was out-stripped by an increase in the number of trucks that were passing through the weighbridge forcing RDA to consider giving the facility a facelift of international accepted standards.

The works done were part of the link Zambia 8000 that was launched in September 2012 whose principle objective is to transform Zambia into a land linked country and marked the beginning of a new phase to preserve the road infrastructure and reduce on over-loading on the roads.

Works, Supply and Communication Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said Zambia can now begin to boast of the state-of-the-art infrastructure being constructed countrywide and that Government was focused to ensure that it was achieved.

Mr Mukanga said the Government has embarked on an ambitious road construction and rehabilitation programme under the link Zambia 8000, Pave way Zambia 2000 and the national road-tolling programme and L400 road projects.

Speaking during the hand-over of the refurbished weighbridge, Mr Mukanga said the project was aimed at facilitating trade and improve the comfort of road users though had been implemented at a huge cost.

Mr Mukanga stated that the Government would not sit back and fail to act on limiting the tonnage of the axle load being transported on the roads and vowed to ensure that was not allowed.

"If the road network old and new begins to deteriorate due to uncontrolled weight that it is being subjected to, the cost of repairing such as a road will be unbearable and this country will slip back into the bad stories that we have been subjected to in the past," he said.

He said despite the weighbridges in Mpika, Kafulafuta, Solwezi, Kafue, Livingstone and Mwami borders, the Government was unsatisfied with the level of performance of the weighbridges in respect to efficiency and other operation deficiencies.

The minister stated that the operations of the weigh-bridges leaves much to be desired considering that operating manually in this modern day and age compared to other neighbouring countries in the region and that Zambia was far from reaching the required standards.

He assured that Government had embarked on the up-grading of the facilities like the Kapiri-Mposhi weigh bridge he had commissioned and believed that the new facility would assist in decongesting the heavy traffic that was normally marooned at such facilities.

The weighbridge has decks that weigh the entire truck at once as opposed to what was obtaining at other weighbridges where trucks are weighed per axle describing it as a great achievement for the country.

Mr Mukanga said the weigh-bridge was the first of its kind in Zambia and has an expanded capacity through multi deck platform and improved tailor-made data capture system to handle the increased volume of buses and trucks.

"An additional weighing platform and control building has been constructed and the weighbridge will be able to speedily and efficiently handle 1,000 vehicles per day from the 500," he said.

And Central Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta said the commissioning of the refurbished weighbridge was part of many development projects lined up by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government in line with its campaign promises.

Mr Mwaliteta said the campaign promises made in 2011 elections were bearing fruits going by various developmental projects ranging from road construction, schools, health posts, houses among other projects.

Mr Mwaliteta said the Government meant well and has committed itself to ensuring that the promises were implemented but said it was saddening that some political opponents were refusing to acknowledge the works done so far.

He said clearly the Government under the leadership of President Michael Sata has performed well as can be seen by works done so far and that the commissioning of the weighbridge was part of many projects under way not only in Central Province but the nation as a whole.

"Just like Rome was not built in a day, the PF has just been in Government for more than two years surely it is not possible to do everything at once because not even magic can work out wonders," he said.

He said the newly commissioned weighbridge was strategically located at the junction of the Great North Road (T2) to Muchinga, Luapula, Northern Province used for transportation of goods and movement of people.

He advised those tasked with the responsibility of looking after the infrastructure to guard it jealously as it has been constructed at a huge cost, using tax payers' money.

He, however, asked the Ministry of Transport, Works and Supply to seriously consider expanding the road whose traffic was high and cannot be compared to other provinces to save lives and reduce on cases of road traffic accidents.

The issue of the expansion was important considering the increased volume of traffic and that the province was of the view that the road be expanded three or four lanes in each directions.

And local and foreign drivers talked to commended the Government for giving a face lift to the facility, which in the past, had led to them spending days waiting to have their motor vehicles cleared.

Godfrey Mavindisa, a Zimbabwean driver said since he is in and out of Zambia transporting goods from South Africa, he was happy with the development and appealed to them to consider doing the same with other bridges.

It is evident that the refurbished weigh bridge has cheered many travellers who are interested to see that they are cleared and served on time.

No doubt that the newly refurbished weigh bridge situated in the heart of Central Province apart from clearing buses and trucks on time, will in turn reduce on reports of corruption allegations when clearing the vehicles and be able to contribute to the country's development.

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