BLANTYRE: Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappieh Mhango has reiterated government’s commitment to improving rural connectivity by constructing new and modern roads while at the same time upgrading already existing facilities.
The minister made the remarks in Blantyre on Tuesday when he commissioned a newly constructed Mlombodzi concrete-deck bridge along Dowe Road in the area of Traditional Authority Makata.
Mhango said government highly appreciates the importance of road connectivity on grounds that it improves people’s access to various social amenities such as hospitals, schools and markets.
Over 70 percent of the country’s population resides in rural areas which is why the government of Malawi has put much emphasis on improving public road network particularly in remote areas, he said. Good road network facilitates development and also leads to creation of wealth.
Mhango assured that government with funds from fuel levy and support from its development partners would continue to construct new roads and where possible replace timber-deck bridges with concrete-deck bridges with the aim of improving rural accessibility.
The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS111) recognizes infrastructural development as a catalyst for sustainable development. We will not rest until all areas are well connected, he emphasized.
Mhango described the newly constructed bridge as a relief to people of the area, whom he said, could not connect with each other during the rainy season.
The bridge will give communities from both sides a good and easy access to health facilities particularly expectant mothers while at the same time allow farmers sell their agricultural produce to urban markets, he added.
The K35 million bridge has two-spans of 16.25metres total length. It is also reinforced with concrete on masonry sub-structures which are again supported on a mass concrete footing.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre Rural East, Susan Ndalama hailed government for bailing out people of the area.
Ndalama said before the bridge was constructed, it was very difficult for people from the two divides of the Mlombodzi River to access health facilities, education for school going children as well as markets.
The parliamentarian said pregnant women could die in labour pain because they couldn’t cross over Mlombodzi River during the rainy season.
We commend government for listening to our concerns, we never knew one day we would have such a big and strong bridge. All the challenges we faced are now a thing of the past, said the seemingly excited Ndalama.
Traditional Authority Makata also expressed happiness with the construction of the bridge, describing it as a big relief to his subjects.
Construction works for Mlombodzi Bridge commenced on June 15, 2017 and finished on October 13, 2017. The project was contracted to CLP Civil Engineering.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA