Kafue Hook Bridge flooded

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:25:50 +0000

 

 

THE Kafue Hook Bridge along the main Lusaka-Mongu road has been flooded due to unprecedented water levels in the Kafue National Park, posing a great danger to the travelling public and the old bridge which is in need of urgent repairs, Government announced yesterday.

Infrastructure and Housing Minister Ronald Chitotela told Parliament yesterday that Government was hastily opening a temporal bridge which has been constructed alongside the old bridge to deal with the crisis after the water levels in the park exceeded the historical flood level at the Kafue Hook Bridge site.

‘‘The water level has risen by 3 metres since December 2016. This high level and velocity is posing a great danger to the old bridge structure which I must inform you is in need of urgent repairs,’’ Mr Chitotela said.

Mr Chitotela cautioned people travelling to attend the Kuomboka ceremony to adhere to permissible weight limits on the old bridge so that lives were not lost and ensure that the temporal bridge being constructed was not damaged.

He said the Road Development Agency (RDA) has responded with haste to engage a contractor, China Henan International Corporation, who has since mobilised and started the repair works.

However, the contractor would only be able to commence works on the main bridge after the water levels had subsided.

“In the last months of January, February and March 2017, the country received normal to above normal rains that has exerted pressure on the road infrastructure across the country.

“On 11th March, a report was received from Kafue Hook Bridge site office in Kafue National Park that the Kafue River has flooded and the water level has exceeded the historical flood level at the bridge site,” said Mr Chitotela.

He said works on the new bridge started in October 2015 and was completed in November 2016 to allow the repairs on the old bridge after the waters had receded, but following the flooding of the old bridge, traffic would now be diverted from the main bridge to the temporal one.

Mr Chitotela, however, said RDA engineers had been tasked to engage stakeholders on the ground and monitor the situation accordingly.

“The Road Development Agency (RDA) awarded a works contract to Messrs. China Henan International Corporation Limited for the rehabilitation of the 270-metre Kafue Hook Bridge along the Lusaka-Mongu road in Western Province at a contract sum of K147, 539,014.61, VAT inclusive,” he said.

Mr Chitotela said his ministry would continue working tirelessly to ensure that roads and bridges of good quality were constructed in a quest to transform Zambia from being landlocked to being land-linked.

He said maintenance of the road infrastructure had been prioritised by the Patriotic Front government, adding that his ministry was closely monitoring the situation on Kafue Hook Bridge to preserve the structure for the country and save lives.

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