The deadline for phase one of the construction of the Lirangwe-Chingale-Machinga Road has been extended to December from the initial October due to persistent rains experienced early this year.
The extension was announced on Thursday when Minister of Transport and Public Works Ralph Jooma and Roads Authority (RA) officials toured the first 19-kilometre (km) stretch covering the first phase of the project.
In an interview, the minister said his ministry understands the circumstances and will support the contractor, Mota-Engil, to meet the December deadline.
“On our part, we will continue pushing the contractor to adhere to the deadlines and to ensure that we are paying them on time. At some point we suffocate them due to lack of resources,” he said.
In a separate interview, Mota-Engil technical manager for Malawi, Jose Pereira, expressed optimism to meet the December deadline.
On his part, RA chief executive officer Emmanuel Matapa said what may delay after completion of the first phase is the construction of a six-metre overhead bridge where the road crosses a railway line.
The 62-km road will connect the M1 at Lirangwe in Blantyre District and the M3 a few kilometres from Machinga Boma and is being funded by the Malawi Government to a tune of K5.3 billion for the first phase.