Deputy Minister of Transport Nancy Chaola Mdooko has said the completion of tollgates in Ntcheu and Dedza will be delayed further due to information and communications technology (ICT) system installation.
Speaking on Thursday when she visited the construction sites, the deputy minister said the Chingeni Tollgate construction by Plem Construction is almost complete but the ICT system is yet to be installed.
Said Mdooko: “But we are confident that by next week, the ICT contractor will be on site at Chingeni to begin the work. But we are impressed by work done by Plem Construction here.”
The ICT system will ensure enhanced security cameras for internal controls, transparency and accountability, vehicle recognition devices, and customer unit fare displays.
Mdooko said procuring an ICT services provider caused the delay.
The problem is more complex at Kalinyeke Tollgate in Dedza where the canopy for the tollgate and the office block to house the ICT system have to be redesigned after it was constructed on lower ground.
On his part, Roads Authority chief executive officer Engineer Emmanuel Matapa said he was optimistic that the two tollgates will be functional by July.
He said: “Due to Covid-19 effects, there was also a delay in installation of ICT system and designing. The ICT service provider is different from the ones doing the construction. But we hope by July the two facilities will be operational.”
The Chingeni Toll Plaza, whose construction started on December 13 2020 and will cost government K2 billion, was initially scheduled to be operational by March 3 this year.
On the other hand, the Kalinyeke Tollgate was earmarked for completion by February 2 this year and was initially budgeted for K2.2 billion, but the cost will be higher due to the redesigning of the office block and the canopy.
Toll fees are charged to help compensate for the cost of road maintenance. The amount usually varies with type of vehicle, weight, or number of axles.