Japanese International Cooperation Agency, JICA have submitted a preliminary design of the new Luangwa Bridge in Zambia.
Infrastructure and Housing Minister, Ronald Chitotela confirmed the reports and said that the new Luangwa bridge will be 500 metres long compared to the current one which is 300 metres long and will not curve.
“We have received a team from JICA who have done the preliminary design and have submitted a report which states that a direct bridge will reduce the cost because of the rock view,” said Chitotela.
“We have a team of technical people, engineers from Japan who have come to look at the Luangwa Bridge.That bridge is very old and needs replacement like urgently and the government desires that that bridge is worked on as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t hamper in future the movement of the people in and out of the province to Lusaka,” he added.
The Luangwa Bridge
The First Luangwa Bridge was built in Zambia’s colonial era in 1932 as a narrow 300 m long wide steel and reinforced concrete deck on concrete piers and columns, financed, like the Chirundu Bridge and Beit Bridge by the Beit Trust. Its proximity to Mozambique (about 2 km) and Rhodesia (60 km), as well as its status as the only access point within the country for Zambia’s Eastern Province, makes it strategically vulnerable in any conflict.
The Second Luangwa Bridge (opened in 1968) was built quickly above the first, with aid from Britain which had been the colonial power in Zambia. It is a bridge designed by Freeman Fox & Partners and built by the Redpath Dorman Long. It had a composite steel-reinforced concrete deck 9.8 m wide, two H-shaped steel pylons 42 m tall on two reinforced concrete piers, and steel cables. The main span was 222 m with approach spans of 40 m each.
The new bridge is set to boost trade and traffic volume between Zambia and the international community through the Port of Nacala in Mozambique compared to the suspended bridge which has a disadvantage as it only allows one vehicle to cross at a time.