Contractor of the road, China Roads and Bridges Cooperation, assured the country that the road would be completed in December 2012 and be handed over to Malawi Government following stabilisation of fuel and availability of other materials which were in short supply during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
However, during a tour on the road by The Nation last week, it was noted that the contractor was still on site and working on the road. Quarry stones were still being applied on some stretches.
The tour also found that about 99 percent of the road was not marked, making it difficult to know the demarcation between the left-hand and right-hand sides of the road. The only portion marked was the place where Banda officially opened the road on January 7 2013. However, the markings have since faded.
The road also lacks warning signs for bridges, schools along the road and some of the slopes and bends. The development is life-threatening as some pupils were found playing on the road during break time.
A number of poles are also yet to be fitted with road signs.
Roads Authority (RA) public relations officer Portia Kajanga said the decision to commission the road before completion was beyond RA.
She said the road will be completed in November this year.
Said Kajanga: “The road is in what we call ‘substantial completion’ [meaning the road is complete for traffic use while the contractor is doing minor/remedial works during the project’s Defects Liability Period – 1 year in this case].
“This is common for all projects of such nature. However, it will reach practical completion at the end of the ‘Defects Liability Period’ in November 2013. The project is being monitored at this stage and the contractor is liable for all defects on the road.”
Kajanga, who admitted that she had not been to the site to inspect the road to observe things that were not in order, earlier claimed road signs were in place, but later changed her position, saying the authority had no control over when the signs should be in place.
“Pedestrian crossing signs have been provided on either approaches of schools along the road. Please note that the signs are for pedestrian crossing and not necessarily specific for children crossing,” said Kajanga.
However, she said the marking will be done after adequate traffic has passed on the road and the surface is stable enough. She said the marking at the site where Banda commissioned the road was only symbolic.