Construction of the multi-million dollar Kazungula Bridge that will link Zambia and Botswana is expected to commence in July this year.
The ground breaking ceremony that was planned for March 28 has been rescheduled to July.
This is according to a joint press statement issued by Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga and Botswana’s Minister of Transport and Communications Nonofo Mohlefi in Livingstone yesterday.
The two ministers noted that a lot of progress has been made in the procurement process for the contracts.
“Out of the 26 companies that expressed interest to participate in the project, three have been shortlisted to bid for the project. It is expected that construction of the Kazungula Bridge will commence on July 12, 2014,” reads the statement.
The evaluation of the technical proposals was completed last December.
The civil works for the proposed Kazungula Bridge and the railway line will comprise the construction of a 23 metres long by 18.5 metres wide rail/road bridge.
It will also include two one-stop border facilities, access roads and ramps across the Zambezi River.
Speaking at the briefing, Mr Mukanga said the bridge is of strategic importance to the economic integration of the two countries and southern Africa.
He said the bridge will provide the much-needed connectivity and also link regional ports which handle exports and imports through Botswana and Zambia.
“The construction of Kazungula Bridge will address the challenges imposed by the existing ferry service, which is a major bottleneck to trade and smooth flow of people, goods and services,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Mohlefi said there is need to deal with legal issues with financiers to ensure transparency.
He said it is important for stakeholders such as the Ministry of Finance to also realise that because of delays in implementation, this would increase funding to the project.
Mr Mohlefi commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding the project.
From : Daily Mail
27 March 2014