Minister of Transport and Public Works Ralph Jooma on Saturday commissioned Katapasya Bridge in the area of Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka.
During the event, the minister urged the surrounding communities to plant trees around the bridge to protect it from being washed away by floods.
The K500 million 48-metre-long bridge, financed by the Roads Fund Administration through the fuel levy, is located about four kilometres from Ulongwe on the M3 Road.
“I am extremely happy to officially open this bridge, which has been a problem for years. The absence of the bridge was a burden to the lives of farmers here, school-going children, and of course tourists to get to Mvuu Camp which is right here,” said Jooma.
He said the construction of the bridge is in line with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and the Transport Master Plan, which are both policy documents that provide a framework for wealth creation through sustainable economic growth and infrastructure development.
Balaka Central East member of Parliament Chifundo Makande (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) thanked government for constructing the bridge, saying the absence of a bridge prevented the communities from direct access to social amenities and economic opportunities. Roads Authority chief executive officer Emmanuel Matapa said the contractor, Kelch Construction, built a structure which has met the authority’s expectation.