WORLD Bank country director Kundhavi Kadiresan says construction of the US$11 million (K62 million) Mufuchani bridge across the Kafue River will change the economic outlook of Kitwe and surrounding areas.
Works on the long-awaited 160 metres long bridge across the crocodile-infested river have finally commenced and are expected to take 18 months, with November 2015 being the completion date.
Speaking when she toured the site in Kitwe on Thursday, Kadiresan said the bridge was part of the bank’s poverty reduction efforts aimed at making accessibility to basic amenities for the people easier.
“For us, it is important when we talk about poverty reduction. This project will connect the people of this community to the markets for their livelihood. We are also doing other small bridges, we are also rehabilitating the road between Lusaka and Chirundu and Chingola and Kasumbalesa,” she said.
“The idea is to connect key areas; like here, we know that the construction of the bridge will link this road to the Ndola road. It is encouraging that the bridge is about to start, it will change the economy of this area, these are the projects that we want,” she added.
Kadiresan was also happy that all the families that had been displaced by the bridge project had been successfully resettled in 57 houses built by the bank without problems.
And Road Development Agency project manager for World Bank-funded projects Nicholas Mulenga said China Henan, the contractor was transporting equipment from Tanzania but initial clearing works had commenced and the main project was expected to commence next month.
Mulenga said once complete, the project would help decongest Kitwe and open up the eastern side across the river for development.
On March 3, 1979, 47 people perished when the pontoon they were using to cross the river sank. Many lives have continued to be lost through crocodile attacks and drowning as people try to cross using banana boats.
The Post Zambia