Vice-President Saulos Chilima has described as substandard works on the Chikwawa-Chapananga-Mwanza Road project and has since ordered the redesigning of the first completed 10 kilometres (km) of the 140-km road.
The Vice-President, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development; and Public Sector Reforms, expressed the frustration in an interview yesterday after inspecting the Chikwawa-Chapanga-Mwanza and Nsanje-Marka road projects in Chikwawa and Nsanje.
He said: “The bridge [Chapananga] itself looks solid, but the road is substandard by my own assessment because they are saying this is not the same grade as we saw in Tsangano [in Ntcheu] and Nsanje.
“We want quality roads. If this road takes us from Chikwawa to Mwanza, it may carry heavy traffic in future and, therefore, it must be designed to carry such loads. We don’t want roads that will need heavy maintenance two years after being opened for use.”
Chilima said it was better to pay for more than pay for less on a road project that will embarrass government few years after being opened.
Representatives of the contractor of the road project, Plem Construction Limited, who were present at the site, refused to grant the media interviews.
Earlier, Chilima expressed satisfaction with the construction works on the Nsanje-Marka Road project which is 65 percent complete and the works are expected to be completed by March 17 2021.
“The design and the quality is really good and they have remained with two bridges so far and we are optimistic that it will be completed on time,” said the Veep.
Roads Authority (RA) chief executive officer Engineer Emmanuel Matapa, who briefed the Veep on both projects, said government was upgrading about 25km of the Nsanje-Marka Road to bitumen standard.
Briefing the Vice-President, who was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works Nancy Mdooko and RA officials, he said on the other hand, government is also upgrading the 140km Chikwawa-Chapanga-Mwanza Road to bitumen standard.
The Nsanje-Marka Road forms part of the North-South Corridor that connects Malawi to the port of Beira and the project is expected to end at the border with Mozambique.
The Chikwawa-Chapanga-Mwanza Road forms a link between Chikwawa and Mwanza, the border district linking Malawi and Mozambique.
The Vice-President is on a tour of public projects in the Southern Region to track progress and implementation timelines. Besides the Nsanje-Marka and Chikwawa-Chapananga-Mwanza roads, he was also scheduled to inspect the Shire Valley Transformation Project and a teacher training college construction project in Chikwawa.