People of Makhanga and Muona in Nsanje District have breathed a sigh of relief as construction of the long-awaited Ruo River Bridge has started.
Speaking on Saturday when Minister of Transport and Public Works Ralph Jooma visited the contractors Mota Engil at the site in Makhanga, Road Authority (RA) chief executive officer Engineer Emmanuel Matapa said the 170 metre-long bridge will cost K8 billion.
He also said construction of the bridge, which will have two lanes for road users and a separate railway bridge, will take 18 months.
Matapa said Malawi Government, through Roads Fund Administration, will meet the cost of the project, which is part of the 82-kilometre Thyolo-Thekerani-Muona-Makhanga Road under construction.
“This bridge is a composite bridge and it was designed that it should survive the Ruo River pressure, especially during rainy season,” he said.
Matapa assured that the project will meet the deadline.
On his part, Jooma said besides saving lives of people when crossing the river on canoes and boats, the project is part of a road network from Nsanje-Thyolo to Blantyre.
“We came to see the contractor who is now on site mobilising equipment as the project has now started. During the rainy season, currents become strong, making crossing the river difficult using canoes and boats,” he said.
Jooma said Ruo Bridge was not in the Thyolo-Thekerani-Muona-Makhanga Road project, but government, looking at its importance to people of Nsanje, decided to get funding for it.
Nsanje North legislator Esther Mcheka-Chilenje commended government for initiating the project.