Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale says the Lusaka city roads decongestion project is progressing well, as some roads are being created while others are being expanded.

In April 2018, President Edgar Lungu and his Indian counterpart Shri Ram Nath Kovind launched the Lusaka City roads de-congestion project aimed at reducing traffic in the capital city.

President Lungu had said that the project would be financed by the Exim bank of India at an estimated cost of US $289 million with 15 percent counterpart funding from the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

Giving an update on the development, Mwale told News Diggers! in an interview that some selected roads would be expanded to four lanes with dedicated lanes for commuter buses only.

And Mwale said the project which is scheduled to be complete by 2020 would also bring to reality the four new flyover roads and bypass routes from Mimosa Chilanga to Great North Road via Garden House area.

“The project has started on a very good note. We have opened up a number of roads that are getting expanded into four lanes. First of all you know [that] we developed a master plan for Lusaka called the “JICA-Local Government Master Plan” with the aim of trying to figure out where the new residential areas are going to be, where the new commercial areas are going to be and how to make sure that movements within Lusaka are done easily just to be able to allow people to do business and commerce without problems. So we are supposed to implement this in a phased approach and there is this first phase that we are doing, trying to decongest Lusaka where we have created some ring roads and also expand some existing roads and create dedicated bus lanes. So some roads will have lanes dedicated only for buses,” Mwale said.

He said the construction of one flyover road in Makeni area along Kafue road was already on course.

“And this is in a bid to try and make sure that there is easy movement of people within Lusaka. So you have seen some roads have opened up in Woodlands, we have got Musi-O-Tunya Road, we have got Lake Road there, we have got Chindo Road and those [that] we have opened up already. We will end up this project with about four flyover bridges [and] you can see that in Makeni we have got a flyover bridge that has started coming up, we will have five junctions that will be created in some areas where we need junctions,” Mwale disclosed.

He said despite the project scheduled to be completed in 2021, the contractor has expressed confidence that it will be done by 2020.

“It has been done after a careful study of what should happen to decongest Lusaka. I know with the rains still coming earliest, we will try and reduce the works but as soon as the rains go, the works will then be expanded and the main contractor Afcons from India is subcontracting a lot of Zambian contractors to make sure that we expand on the works that will be done. And the project is expected to be done by about 2020. It should end in 2021 but the contractor is very confident that by 2020 all the roads will be completed including having new flyover bridges, new junctions, new dedicated bus lanes [and] expanded roads,” the minister said.

And Mwale said Kasangula road in Lusaka is one of those roads that would be expanded into four lanes.

“You know Kasangula is one of those that will be expanded to four lanes [although] we haven’t started the works there and we are going to have some by-passes [like] if you are coming from Southern Province [or] from Kafue and you reach Mimosa there, imagine all those trucks coming from Southern Province and are going to the Northern road or the Copperbelt have to pass through town through Lumumba road and so on, they will stop in future because we are going to create a by-pas off Lusaka right at Mimosa,” said Mwale.

“We are creating a bypass passing through farms which is going to join roads to Western Province somewhere near Garden House Hotel and then proceed again, cut and join Great North Road somewhere after Mungule or so, so that there is no need for trucks coming from the Copperbelt going into Zimbabwe or South Africa passing through town, [instead] they will use a by-pass. And those coming from the opposite direction will have to use a by-pass. So we will decongest the city and just make sure that people can easily do their businesses [and] move around without difficulties.”