By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA –
THE road infrastructure in Kitwe like in many other parts of the country had over the years suffered serious neglect resulting in some areas of the district becoming inaccessible by motor vehicle.
Driving through most of the roads, particularly those in townships, became a nightmare for motorists who time and again had to take their vehicles for fixing because of constant break-downs as a result of the poor roads.
This story is however, destined to be part of history following Government’s massive investment into the programme for road rehabilitation and construction in Kitwe in 2013.
Kitwe, like many other districts in the country is definitely ending 2013 on a high note because of the unprecedented road infrastructure development recorded in just a record one year, much to the delight of Kitwe City Council spokesperson Dorothy Sampa who wasted no time in stating that: “We have achieved quite a lot as a city in terms of development.”
Ms Sampa who is alive to the fact that road infrastructure is a conduit for national development said Kitwe was this year fortunate enough to see implementation of the road rehabilitation and construction under the Urban Road project.
“We have 20-kilometre Kitwe Urban Road project whose source of funding is the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Local Government,” Ms Sampa said.
She said 80 per cent of the works on the 20-kilometre stretch of the roads mostly in townships had been done.
Aside that, Ms Sampa said Government this year had also facilitated the implementation of 38.1 kilometre Kitwe-Urban Road project with work progress on the roads mostly in Parklands, Riverside and part of Nkana East standing at 30 per cent.
“We have so far spent a total of K368 million on the works done on both projects which are still progressing well,” Ms Sampa said.
She said Government this year did not only end at rehabilitating and constructing the roads as it has gone further in providing funding for installation of street lights.
Ms Sampa said K1 million was given to the Kitwe council as a grant for the street lighting project whose concentration was restricted to the Kitwe-Ndola dual carriageway.
She said progress on the street lighting project was standing at 80 per cent and was hopeful of the works being completed soon.
As if this was not enough achievement for the city of Kitwe in 2013, Ms Sampa said the council secured another funding from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) for installation of standard road signs.
“This project as we are talking now is 100 per cent completed and we have gone ahead to do street naming, which is a landmark achievement for the city,” Ms Sampa said.
But for one to think this is the only development that has taken root in Kitwe would be wishful thinking as highlighted by Ms Sampa who says many more other projects such as the construction of culverts, foot-bridges and construction of bus stations in several parts of the districts using constituency development fund (CDF) has been undertaken.
Ms Sampa said the council was excited with the road infrastructure development Kitwe was witnessing because of the type of roads being rehabilitated are: “modernised coming with drainages and walk-ways to accommodate both motorists and pedestrians.”
She said the significant part to the project for road infrastructure development is that for years there had not been such development and this for some time caused people to start to wonder whether they would in their life time witness such positive development.
But more importantly, Ms Sampa said, the road rehabilitation and construction project brought relief to the residents of Kitwe in that it would help ease mobility to places that proved a hassle to get to because of the poor state of roads.
Also of significant to note is that the rehabilitated roads will also present motorists an opportunity to make savings from the cost of fixing vehicles taking into account the numerous complaints of the high costs of replacing motor vehicle spare-parts arising from the constant breakdowns.
Notwithstanding the highlighted developments, Ms Sampa views the recently constructed link road connecting Nkana East to Ndeke Village as one of the major landmark achievement scored in 2013.
“The link road connecting Nkana East and Ndeke Village is a major achievement as you know we have never had a two points of entry or exit into the central business district of Kitwe and the problem has been that whenever we had a breakdown between the junction of Central
Street and the 16 Feet, people have greatly been inconvenienced.
“With the coming of another exit route it now means that even with a breakdown between this point, traffic will still flow easily as there is another alternative route into and out of town,” Ms Sampa said.
The massive road infrastructure development project should indeed give Kitwe residents a reason to smile for because of the many benefits that comes along with it.
The benefits, apart from facilitating smooth and quicker flow of traffic will also include adding to the beauty of the city.