Blantyre-Zomba road closed for three months- Malawi Roads Authority

The M3 Blantyre-Zomba Road, currently undergoing upgrading, will from this Monday be completely closed to traffic as contractors work on the final phase, Malawi’s Roads Authority has announced.

The Roads Authority says the 64-kilometer road, which former President Bingu wa Mutharika named John Chilembwe Highway, will be closed between Chiradzulu Turn Off and Maone Park Junction where contractors will be working on the final phase of the road.

Roads Authority spokesperson, Portia Kajanga, said the closure has been necessitated to ensure maximum safety of road users and the surrounding community due to the nature of construction works to be carried out on the section as well as to catch up with time.

“For us to do a very good job, we need to completely close this section so that no vehicle passes through it.

“We want to commence real work from Chiradzulu Turn Off to Maselema Roundabout, this is the final section of the road and we are doing this because we want to catch up with time,” Kajanga, said.

Part of the Blantyre-Zomba Road under reconstruction at Namadzi Bridge- Photo by Lucky Mkandawire Nyasa Times.

Part of the Blantyre-Zomba Road under reconstruction at Namadzi Bridge- Photo by Lucky Mkandawire Nyasa Times.

She said the authority does not want to find itself in an awkward position just like last year when it completely closed the road due to muddy conditions of their diversions that resulted in the vehicles getting stuck.

“So we are accelerating the work to beat the rains,” said the spokesperson.

Kajanga said there were currently three teams working on the road. One team is around Namadzi area, the other Mbulumbuzi area and the one on final phase.

Routes

Meanwhile, the Roads Authority has created a number of earth/gravel roads to minimize traffic congestions and for the comfort of the road users, particularly those connecting Blantyre, Zomba and Chiradzulu.

Vehicles from Blantyre Central Business District to Chiradzulu/Zomba will have to go through Magalasi Road to Machinjiri and then connect at Njuli.

All traffic from Zomba going towards Blantyre will have to divert to the right into an earth road, approximately 2kms from Njuli Terrastone Quarry.

For motorists travelling from Chiradzulu will be directed towards Zomba and then turn left into an earth road before reaching Njuli Terrastone Quarry.

The Roads Authority say traffic from Phalombe and Chiringa, will have to use the Chitakale or Nguludi roads and proceed with Robert Mugabe Highway.

Kajanga said they had undertaken some measures in order to make traffic flow as smooth as possible. Some of the undertakings include proper treatment of the earth/gravel roads for diversions and erection of road direction signs in all locations.

Roads Authority has also strategically positioned flagmen with radios in all junctions and important areas while traffic police officers will also be present to supervise traffic on some busy junctions susceptible to congestion along the detours.

The road, being constructed by Mota Engil, a contractor that monopolized construction projects in Malawi during late President Mutharika reign, was expected to end in March this year but failed to beat deadline due to fuel shortage that hit the country last year.

About K5.5 billion will be used on the road upgrading project with 90 percent of the money being a loan from the African Development Bank (ADB) while 10 percent will come from the Malawi Government purse.

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