The Blantyre-Zomba Road diversion, which got damaged by heavy rains has been opened to traffic.
Roads Authority (RA) board chairperson Kizito Ngwembe confirmed the development on Wednesday.
“Repair works on the diversion was finished on Tuesday evening, hence, the decision to open it for business,” he said.
This comes a day after Roads Authority officials, Mota-Engil, Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE), David Consulting Engineers, and other stakeholders met on Tuesday to discuss the state of the road, which was closed due to incessant rains.
During the visit to the site near Njuli Quarry, the consultant of the road construction, David Consulting Engineers, said only 15 percent of the whole road had been completed, but the target of finishing construction works was March 2014.
The consultant’s resident engineer, Abuid Chaula, said the contractor, Mota-Engil, and consultant did not realise that there was a lot of underground water on the site because the diversion was functioning well before the rains.
“We oversaw the water levels under the road and only realised them after the incessant rains. We can, however, assure Malawians that the diversion at Njuli Quarry will be functional by the end of this week,” said Chaula.
RA’s chief executive officer Paul Kulemeka said the progress of the road had deteriorated because of bitumen supply that was being imported from Saudi Arabia.
Kulemeka said the target of the construction was to be beyond Njuli by February.
RA’s board chairperson Kizito Ngwembe said the situation was pathetic, but quickly pointed out that the contractor had internal problems that led to the situation.
MIE president Dr. Matthews Mtumbuka said the situation on the site would have been avoidable saying the situation went out of hand because of the negligence of the contractor.
Mtumbuka, however, said MIE is happy because the contractor was working on the diversion, but maintained that there was no engineering puzzle for the road to get in an impassable situation.