RUKWA Regional Commissioner (RC) Ms Queen Sendiga has expressed satisfaction on a stone arch bridge which is under construction across Mao River in Kalambo District at the cost of 29.15m/-.
She said she was fascinated with the stone arch technology as a cost-effective and one that would prove to be most useful in construction of rural roads.
“I’m impressed with this technology of using stone arch because it is cost-effective method which guarantees a long-lasting upgrade of rural roads.
“Safe year-round crossing on a stone arch bridge is therefore a foundation for sustainable development in rural settings in the region,” she said when she toured and inspected rehabilitation of Mbuluma – Lolesha – Mao road spanning 13.2 kms at the cost of 235.82m/-
According to the RC the much needed road infrastructure projects using conventional techniques, such as steel and reinforced concrete, are often very expensive.
“The common technology for bridges is either concrete or steel. These techniques require a high input of industrial materials.
“But the stone arch technology capitalises on this fact by using readily available local materials,” emphasised the RC
However Ms Sendiga tasked the contractor MIGO Civil and Builders Contractor based in Sumbawanga to undertake the project as per contractual agreement.
Rukwa Regional TARURA Manager, Samson Kalesi briefed the RC during the 2022/2023 Financial Year the government allocated the road agency 2.5bn/- sourced from Constituency Development Funds (CDF).
According to Eng Kalesi out of 2.5bn/- Kalambo district was allocated 500m/- for the rehabilitation of Mbuluma- Lolesha- Mao (13.2kms) and Chipapa- Chalatila (11.2 kms).
“M/s MIGO and Builder’s Contractor Ltd has been contracted to undertake Mbuluma- Lolesha – Mao road project whose construction started on October 24, 2022 and is scheduled for completion on April 24, this year.
Speaking on the Stone arch bridge Eng Kalesi said the technology use of very little cement, no use of reinforcement steel and thus less transport of industrial materials.
He went ahead to explain that the masonry bridges also avoid some of the disadvantages of conventional alternatives, such as the use of steel or concrete culverts.
“These frequently break during rough transport over bad roads from industrial centres and, because they are relatively light, they run the risk of being washed away during floods.
Additionally, such prefabricated elements are sometimes stolen. People dig them out and try to resell them to earn money,” noted Eng Kalesi
Stone arch bridges have been built for more than 2000 years and some of the early structures are still used today.
The Pons Fabricius Bridge in Rome for example has two arches spanning 24m each and dates from 62 BCE.
Both the design and execution rely on simple rules of thumb that have been tried and tested through time.
This avoids the need for complicated design and precision sensitive execution of steel and concrete bridges.
The road agency in Rukwa according to Eng Kalesi has also constructed two stone arch bridges across Zimba River and Mambwekenya – Mpanga in Nkasi and Kalambo districts.