Construction of the long-awaited 62-kilometre (km) Lirangwe-Chingale-Machinga Road has started.
The road, which will connect the M1 at Lirangwe in Blantyre District and the M3, a few kilometres from Machinga District, will ease transportation problems in the areas connecting the two districts.
The road, constructed by Mota-Engil and funded by the Malawi Government to the tune of K5.3 billion for the first 19 km, has failed to take off for a number of years.
Former president Joyce Banda laid a foundation stone for the road construction barely a few weeks before the May 2014 Tripartite Elections.
In the 2015/16 National Budget, the Roads Authority (RA) also included the road among the five it planned to work on starting from November 30 2015 to 2018.
The first phase of road, which will cover the 19km from Lirangwe to Chipini, is expected to be completed by September 2019, according to RA.
Speaking when he toured the project, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango gave an assurance that the project will be completed within its given timeframe and allayed fears that the project is a campaign tool as has been the case in the past.
He said: “Government remains extremely committed in ensuring that all road projects that we have started will be completed in the agreed timeframe.”
RA chief executive officer Emmanuel Matapa expressed hope that the project will be completed within six years.
Blantyre North legislator Francis Phiso said the road will help ease transportation problems people of the constituency have been facing, particulary during the rainy season. n