With physical progress for the Area 18 interchange now at 96 percent, Lilongwe residents can now breathe a sigh of relief as the much awaited project will be ready for use in two weeks’ time according to Ministry of Transport.
Speaking after touring the infrastructure on Wednesday, President Lazarus Chakwera said he was impressed with the progress of the facility being constructed by Mota Engil.
"Am happy that the work is coming to an end am also happy that the project is not only there to decongest the city but is connected to various economic factors," said the President.
Roads Fund Administration Chief Executive Officer Stuart Malata, acknowledged that there were a number of challenges which delayed the implementation of the project but assured that construction of the interchange is approaching completion.
"The structure includes one bridge with two decks split by a clear space between the decks and four slip lanes on top as well as four climbing lanes (rumps) in addition to the thorough roads
“The total linear distance covered by the Interchange is approximately seven kilometres including both slip and climbing lanes". said Malata.
He explained that the new road has incorporated modern safety features such as separation of motorized and non-motorized traffic which has improved safety for road users.
Funding for the project was provided by NBS Bank and its Chief Executive Officer Kwanere Ngwenya said he was happy to be part of the exciting innovation.
He revealed that the bank pumped in K10 billion towards the initiative.
Ngwenya spoke of the many benefits of the project to the travelling public in Lilongwe City.
"The upgrading of the road to dual carriageway will reduce congestion of traffic thereby reducing travel time from areas such as Area 25, 49, 18 and Mtandire to City Centre thereby increasing people’s productive time at work and businesses and during the construction period a lot of people within Lilongwe City have benefited through getting employed in various road activities." he noted.
The NBS boss indicated that the existing road was constructed under a low volume sealed road concept however with the increase in the traffic volume within Lilongwe City, the road had deteriorated requiring frequent maintenance interventions and that the upgrading of the road has therefore reduce the maintenance costs.