MWANZA: MINISTER for Works, Innocent Bashungwa has said that the government is making timely payments of all claims presented by the contractor implementing the 3.2 kilometres Kigongo- Busisi Bridge and 1.66 kilometres approach roads whose construction has reached 78 per cent.
Minister Bashungwa revealed that this week during his tour to inspect the construction work of the bridge which connects Usagara – Sengerema – Geita main road in Lake Victoria. The project is fully funded by the government at a cost of 716.3bn/-.
Bashungwa said that President Samia Suluhu Hassan has given priority to the mega project by ensuring timely provision of funds for the work to be completed as planned.
“Pesident Samia continues to demonstrate in practice her ‘Kazi Iendelee’ slogan, literally translated as ‘Let Work Continue,’ which means that the work left by her predecessor Dr John Pombe Magufuli has continued to be implemented, including construction of Kigongo – Busisi Bridge,” Bashungwa said.
Mr Bashungwa explained that President Samia has been making sure that all claims brought by the contractor are being cleared, calling upon Mwanza Regional Commissioner Amos Makalla to visit the project regularly in order to make sure that work does not stop because the contractor has no reason to stop the work.
The minister expressed gratitude to President Samia by continuing to open up Lake Zone regions through linking ports with the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from various countries which will use the country’s infrastructures for transporting their cargo, thus benefiting the zone through SGR main station at Misungwi.
“When we say Kazi Iendelee, we mean these kinds of projects which use billions of shillings for their execution. I call upon Tanzanians to continue strengthening unity because this project will open up economic opportunities to citizens in the Lake Zone and neighbouring regions,” he said.
Earlier while giving the project report, Project Manager from Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS), Eng Boniface Mkumbo said that to date the contractor has already been paid a total of 396.3bn/-, including all 17 claim certificates presented.
He said the construction of the bridge was meant to connect Usagara – Kisesa – Geita main road with 90 kilometres in Lake Victoria corridor which starts at Sirari which borders Tanzania and Kenya up to Mutukula bordering Tanzania and Uganda (774kms).
Mkumbo said currently the road is being connected through the use of three ferries, but due to the big number of vehicles passing through every day they can use up to three hours to move vehicles from one side to another.
According to the government, construction of the Kigongo-Busisi Bridge that crosses Lake Victoria in Mwanza Region is set to be accomplished by February 2024.
The project which is undertaken at a cost of 716bn/- upon completion will save time for movement of goods, people and services in Mwanza, Geita and other Lake Zone regions.
The project is being undertaken by a China-based company known as China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCEEC) in collaboration with the China Railway 15 Bureau Group Corporation (CR15BGC) and fully funded by the government.
The largest bridge in East and Central Africa is expected to spark social, political and economic activities, such as business, agriculture, tourism and fishing by connecting the Misungwi and Sengerema districts via the Lake Victoria in Mwanza Region, vehicle users will use only four minutes compared to two to three hours that are spent currently through ferry transport.
Moreover, it is the gateway for East African countries, including Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda to the country’s second largest city, opening new markets and opportunities.