Moving at night along the Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre will be safer following the completion of a K450 million street lighting project co-funded by the Roads Fund Administration (RFA) and the Blantyre City Council (BCC).
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa switched on the lights in full view of spectators at Clock Tower Roundabout on Monday night marking the official launch of the street lights.
Speaking during the lighting ceremony, Nankhumwa said the completion of the project would help make the highway safe and secure to road users during the night.
He hailed BCC for being a pacesetter in as far as how city councils in the country are operating calling others to up their game and emulate the good example.
However, Nankhumwa cautioned city councils to stick to the values of transparency and accountability in financial management for continued development projects.
The project on the 8.7-Kilometre stretch of the Masauko Chipembere Highway, from Larji Kurji Roundabout to Midima Roundabout in Limbe, began in September 2016.
RFA provided 90 percent of the K450 Million used while the council pumped in 10 percent.
Cas Civil Contractors constructed and installed concrete poles along the highway while another company High Performance Capabilities Africa Private Limited supplied and installed and the automatic street-lighting system along the highway.
RFA board chairperson Bernadette Mandoloma said her office is also funding same projects in the cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Zomba as part of developing the cities to match international standards.
“We are working with councils in these projects realising that street lights are pivotal in making city roads beautiful.
For example, the newly completed Masauko Chipembere Highway was given a facelift with the dual carriage way, however the beauty was inhibited by darkness by the end of the day as it had no street lights,” said Mandoloma.
Mayor for Blantyre City, Wild Ndipo bemoaned vandalism as one of the setbacks in development projects in the city.
He called on the public to guard the lights jealously and report vandalism cases to police.
Said Ndipo: “Let me also call upon our law enforcers, starting with the police and the judiciary, to make sure such individuals get stiffer punishment to deter other offenders.”