The Roads Authority (RA) says it is dangerous for people to vandalise culverts and bridges, because this may cause loss of lives through wash-aways and road damages, especially in rain seasons.
RA spokesperson Portia Kajanga made the plea on Friday when briefing Nation on Sunday that incessant rains that fell in the past couple of days damaged two spots on the Salima-Nkhotakota Road as well as other structures, including Mchesi Bridge in Lilongwe.
Her plea for protection of road equipment followed reports that some people were stealing road equipment, including steel reinforcements.
“The Roads Authority spends in excess of K100 million, annually, for the replacement of such road signs and metal culverts. Such resources could be channelled elsewhere if we didn’t have the barbaric behaviour,” said Kajanga.
In Nkhotakota on Friday, RA acted swiftly by engaging emergency contractors to repair two damaged spots on the Salima-Nkhotakota Road.
The first spot is about 18.3 kilometres (km) from Kaphantenga, while the other is three km farther, in Khombedza area in Salima.
A truck driver, Alick Mhone, interviewed on the lakeshore road, underscored the need to replace metal culverts with concrete ones, arguing that the metal parts are susceptible to vandalism.
“This is one of the busiest roads in Malawi, and incidents such as these put lives of motorists in danger. There is a need to install concrete culverts to avoid such incidents,” he said.
Meanwhile, government has contracted Mota-Engil to rehabilitate the road whereby a 20-kilometre stretch from Nkhotakota Boma to Bua River has been earmarked for maintenance in the first phase.
In Lilongwe, rainwater damaged a retaining wall, forcing traffic on only one side of the road. There, the city council has also engaged a contractor to the repair the damage.
In Blantyre, some residents in Blantyre City South Constituency are spending more on fuel or bus fare when taking alternative routes because of the damage on Mlambalala Bridge, near Seventh Day Baptish Church along Kapeni Road—following heavy rains a couple of weeks ago.