Construction of the Mufuchani Bridge on Kafue River is progressing as planned and is expected to take 18 months. The bridge, which cost an estimated amount of US $11m will be 160 meters long, and its completion is expected to be in November 2015. At the moment, the bridge is said to be 40 percent complete and once it ends there will be land across for the development of the new central district in Kitwe.
The bridge project is part of World Bank’s aim of reducing poverty according to Zambia’s World Bank country director Kundhavi Kadiresan; as well as reducing economic output in the region. This is due to the fact that it will make a connection to the Ndola road in the region and improve accessibility to basic amenities. In addition to construction of this and other small bridge, there will be rehabilitation of the Chingola, Chirundu and Kasumbalesa roads.
The bridge will also help in the decongestion of Kitwe region opening up the eastern side of the river for further development. There is already proposed central business district for Kitwe at the other side of the river.
Displaced families due to beginning of work on the bridge have been resettled on 57 houses that the World Bank built.
According to the District Commissioner for Kitwe, Chanda Kabwe, the Government of Zambia was committed to ensuring that the bridge project is completed in time. He also noted that the river had been a great safety hindrance given that it is infested with crocodiles yet people in the region have to cross it.
The main contractor for the bridge project is China Henani International Corporation (CHICO).