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Kazungula bridge project timeline and what you need to know

The Kazungula Bridge project is a multi-national project in the North-South Corridor and is part of an infrastructure improvement programme that covers the whole corridor. The project includes a bridge linking Botswana and Zambia over the Zambezi River to replace the existing ferry, and a one-stop border facility at Kazungula.

Also Read: Delhi-Mumbai expressway project timeline and all you need to know

Project timeline
2015

Botswana and Zambia invites bids for the construction of Kazungula Bridge on Zambezi River at an estimated cost of US $260m to replace the existing ferry.

The project would be financed partly through a loan of US $80m signed on February 10, 2015 between Zambia and the African Development Bank.

The Botswana government would meet part of the cost while another partner, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), is expected to come on board. The Kazungula Bridge Project is expected to be completed in six years. Consultancy services would include design review, production of bidding documentation, supervision of works, and post construction services.

In November, Daewoo Engineering and Construction was selected to be the contractor of the project and construction of the brigde started after the ground-breaking ceremony was held on the Botswana side of the Kazungula border. The ground-breaking ceremony was led by Vice President Guy Scott and his Botswana counterpart, Ponatshego Kedikilwe.

2018

An inspection of the project was carried out by three regional presidents: Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Seretse Khama of Botswana and Edgar Lungu of Zambia. During the inspection, Botswana and Zambia agreed to allow Zimbabwe to be part of the Kazungula bridge project through the Zambezi river, in phase II of the project.

The three countries further agreed to put up a one-stop border post at Kazungula in Zambia’s Southern province.

2019

In March, construction works were stopped after Daewoo Engineering and Construction the contractor in charge of the development shut down the site due to non payment by the Zambian government.

Daewoo Engineering explained that the issue has led to an industrial strike by the employees. Botswana has since made payment for the project but Zambia was still lagging behind. A total of US $14.84m is owed from the employers.

Administration Manager at Kazungula Bridge Project, Hong Seouk Park said this the financial constraints has made it increasingly difficult to maintain the company’s running costs.

In May, the bridge was 78% complete and president Lungu of Zambia was optimistic that the project will be completed on schedule.

In November, project consultant Mr Kobamelo Kgoboko said construction works of the 923m long bridge, was at 91.92%, and construction will be completed in June 2020 rather than August 2019.

2020

In March, the bridge was 92% complete.

The bridge is expected to significantly improve trade infrastructure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African continent as a whole. One-stop border facilities will be erected in both countries with a 930-metre-long and 18.5-metre-wide road-rail bridge.

The bridge would provide vital transport infrastructure on that corridor as it would facilitate easy access to intra-regional trade and international market through connectivity with major sea ports.

In October, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, announced that construction of the bridge was complete. According to the ministry, package one of the project, comprising the bridge proper and approach ramps, is complete; package two, being a Botswana one stop border post, currently under construction at a cost of US $38.4m, was at 98.44% with completion expected end of this month; and Package three, the Zambia one stop border post, ongoing at a contract sum of about US $13.1m, was at 99.40%.

Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

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