The Roads Authority (RA) has come under fire for claiming to have completed construction of the 6.5 kilometre (km) Maselema-Chiradzulu Turnoff dual carriageway, when some sections are incomplete.
In a written response to our questionnaire yesterday, Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) president Engineer Wilson Chirwa said a road is only complete when the major works have been completed.
RA issued a press statement on Monday with an update on the progress of several road projects which indicated the Maselema-Chiradzulu Turnoff Road as one of the completed projects.
However, a visit to the project site yesterday showed some works are yet to be completed along the stretch, most notably a bridge over the railway at old Unilever offices and the roundabout at Admarc Headquarters in Limbe.
But commenting on the development, Chirwa said RA was hasty in indicating that the road had completed before the bridge was finished.
He said: “There may be some minor works outstanding which are attended to in a defects liability period, which is usually 12 months after the handover date.
“However, there are times when the road is handed over in sections for use by the general public. In that case, it is clearly stated in which section the road has been completed.”
However, RA chief executive officer Engineer Emmanuel Matapa, in a telephone interview yesterday, clarified that they had to isolate the bridge as there is a railway under it.
He said: “Since we are crossing a rail, we needed to find something as an alternative. So we resorted to isolating the bridge itself, do one lane to shift traffic into another lane, and that’s why that component is there.”
Matapa said the project has met all engineering parameters.
On the part of the roundabout at Admarc Headquarters, Matapa said roundabouts differ in their construction owing to a number of factors.
“Normally, for us Malawians we take time to accept some of these things. But let’s give the benefit of the doubt. If people will still feel uncomfortable with it, then we will come back and re-do it,” he said.
According to the status update, among the completed road projects, include rehabilitation of the Liwonde-Mangochi Road, Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road and the Karonga-Songwe Road.
The Maselema-Chiradzulu Turnoff dual carriageway was being constructed with funds from the Malawi Government by Portuguese construction company Mota Engil. In June 2015, RA spokesperson said the road would cost about K12 billion.