THE Road Development Agency (RDA) has announced that it will hand over the K53 million worth Chiawa Bridge on June 30, this year.
Both RDA chief executive officer Bernard Chiwala and manager for road rehabilitation and maintenance projects Nicholas Mulenga said the bridge being constructed by China Henan International Cooperation would be ready by June month end this year.
The initial completion date was January 21, 2014 but that several challenges led to the delay in the project which started in October 2012.
Mr Mulenga cited some of the challenges as the examination process of the rock which the contractor found while doing the foundation, removing of ZESCO power lines and compensation of people who had settled on approach roads to Chiawa bridge.
He was responding to a question from Transport, Communications, Works and Supply Deputy Minister Mwimba Malama who wanted to know why completion of the works on the bridge had been delayed.
"As you know, we have had a pontoon operating on this river (Kafue) for quite some time and this bridge will come a long way in alleviating the problems that the local people have been having in crossing the river," Mr Mulenga said.
Mr Chiwala said the Chiawa bridge would form a link to the Leopards Hill and Chirundu roads currently being worked on from Lusaka.
"We expect to handover this bridge on June 30, this year and with respect to the commissioning, we plan to have it commissioned on July 31, this year so that it can officially be handed over by the Government to the public so that it can be used," he said.
Mr Malama is concerned that some utility companies such as ZESCO were overcharging the RDA for removing their infrastructure on road reserves.
Mr Malama said he would ont Tuesday next week meet utility companies to discuss the challenges raised by RDA
"Commenting on ZESCO, we seem to have a very big problem with utility companies. This is what is also happening on Burma Road, Chilimbulu and also the flyover bridge at Arcades. I think we need to do something to ensure that these contractors are not delayed," Mr Malama said.
Mr Malama said utility companies should know that projects of the Chiawa bridge magnitude were of great importance to the Government.
The RDA has also signed four contracts worth K601, 580, 216 with various contractors for the construction of a new weighbridge in Kafue and the rehabilitation and upgrading of three major Roads in Lusaka, North-Western and Muchinga provinces.
The contract for periodic maintenance of 136.6km of the Solwezi to Mwinilunga was awarded to Inyatsi roads limited at the contract sum of K140, 234,535.35.
While the contract for the rehabilitation of Lusaka Chirundu (T002) road was awarded to KSC International at the cost of K106, 699, 999, 99.
The construction of Kafue Weighbridge Bridge was awarded to Wah Kong Enterprises limited at the cost of K21, 821,242.41.
The upgrading of 90 -kilometre Isoka-Muyombe-Chama-Lundazi road was awarded to Avic International at the cost of K332, 824, 438,.95.