Francistown — Huge traffic volumes as a result of the high number of vehicles registered in the country have necessitated the construction of the Francistown -Tonota dual carriage way and Thapama interchange.
President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama said this on March 10 when officially opening the infrastructural landmark.
Consequently, the President mentioned that last year alone, 53 200 vehicles were registered to take the number of vehicles in the country to 715 000.
This year since January, he also highlighted that 8 664 cars had been registered.
President Khama had praise for the transport and communications minister, Mr Kitso Mokaila and his permanent secretary for having overseen the project until its completion.
He said that when the minister was appointed to the ministry there were many challenges that he had to confront.
The road sector, he explained, played a very crucial role in economic growth; hence government would continue directing investments towards such projects. The project which took three years to complete, he said, employed 500 people per month.
"We decided to undertake these projects in order to reduce maintenance costs and ease the flow of traffic," he said.
President Khama encouraged residents of Francistown to put the assets to good use and look after them.
He also noted that the Tonota-Francistown design was completed in 2002 and had to wait for 10 years before being resuscitated in 2012 due to the unavailability of funding.
The construction of the road, he added, would facilitate trade between Botswana and other SADC countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe.
On other issues, the President also informed residents that he had earlier in the day toured the Kazungula Bridge construction project with both the Zambia and Zimbabwe presidents to check progress.
President Khama highlighted that during his recent visit to Botswana, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe requested that his country become part of the Kazungula Bridge project.
On other issues, he noted that projects of this magnitude came with challenges and paid tribute to those who made sacrifices and agreed to relocate to pave way for the road construction project.
In Francistown, he explained 46 families had to relocate to Gerald Estates and six commercial plots had to pave way for the project while in Tonota five families were affected. The Spaghetti as the interchange is called, he noted, would yield great benefits and open business opportunities in Francistown and beyond.
For his part, Minister Mokaila applauded the President for being steadfast when it came to delivery.
The interchange project, he explained, signified the President's road map.
Minister Mokaila observed that the project was delivered on time and within costs.
As a ministry, he highlighted that they had a vision to ensure that the Ramatlabama-Ramokgwebana, Francistown-Nata and Maun-Shakawe became dual carriage ways as they were corridors of trade.