As Tanzania marks 61st in Notable feats in road, rail networks dependence anniversary today, the country boasts of the major set up and facelift to its transport infrastructures of over 36,000 kilometres road network and 2,707 km metre gauge railway.
Besides, the execution of the first phase of 1,219 km Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza continues well with the 300 km Dar es SalaamMorogoro line standing at over 99 percent, awaiting official launching in February next year.
As veins allow blood to flow in humans, transport infrastructures as well, allow goods and services to move from one place to another, thus stimulating a country’s economic growth and people’s development.
Works and Transport Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said recently that the success recorded on the country’s road network since independence in 1961 accounts for an increased 1,360 km paved roads in 1961 to 11,186 km by September, last year, thus facilitating transport and transportation services in various parts of the country.
For the works and transport sector that oversees construction, maintenance and repair of roads, bridges, ferries, airports, houses and government buildings, he noted that the achievements have been reflected in the budget increase of 2.1bn/- (1962/63) to 1.5tri/- in 2021/22.
Prof Mbarawa noted that regular improvements are carried out with emphasis placed on construction and rehabilitation of major highways, regional and district roads and bridges with a goal of bringing reliable and affordable transport and transportation services in the country.
The minister cited an example of the residents and people who currently use 15 hours to ply from Dar es Salam to the Lake Zone, instead of the over 30 hours used to arrive to the same destinations, noting that some had to incur the hustle of traveling through the neighbouring Kenya (Nairobi).
He went on to reveal that the government is currently executing different stages of road construction projects comprising of 1,593 km including the Dodoma outer ring road (112.3 km), Tabora-Koga-Mpanda (366 km), Kabingo-Kibondo TownKasulu-Manyovu (287 km), Pangani-Tanga (50 km) and 50 km gravel road LusituMawengi.
According to him, the government in 2001 approved the use of funding from internal sources to execute the various tarmac roads and bridge projects, a move that fast tracked the process.
Such projects are a 233 km road section connecting Dar es Salaam and Southern Regions entailing SomangaMatundu (33km), Nangurukuru – Mbwemkuru (95 km) and Mbwemkuru – Mingoyo (95 km). ) Others include a total of 455 km road section connecting Dar es Salaam, Central Regions and Lake Region covering Geita – Buzirayombo – Kyamyorwa (120 km), Geita – Usagara (90 km), Dodoma – Manyoni (127 km), and Manyoni – Singida (118 km) and Tanga Region, Korogwe – Handeni – Mkata road (119 km) was implemented among the many others.
He outlined completed bridges including Nyerere Bridge – Dar es Salaam (680 metres), Magufuli along Kilombero – Morogoro River (384 metres), Lukuledi II – Lindi (30 metres), Momba – Songwe (84 metres), Mara – Mara (94 metres), Sibiti – Singida (82 metres), Magara – Manyara (84 metres) ) and Ruhuhu Bridge (connecting Ruvuma and Njombe Regions 98.7 metres).
Prof Mbarawa added that “urban and population growth have led to traffic congestion, especially in cities and metropolitan areas prompting the government to execute projects to reduce congestion in the cities of Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Dodoma, Mbeya, Arusha and Tanga as well as municipalities like Iringa and Babati whereby a total of 102.4 km roads planned to be paved.
The projects comprise of expansion of the Kimara – Kibaha road (19.2 km) to eight lanes, the expansion of the Morocco-Mwenge Road (4.3 km), which is alredy been completed and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Phase I and construction of Phase II of BRT along with the Gerezani Bridge is underway.
In line with connecting regional headquarters, the government has also connected the country with neighboring Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia via a road network. He said in six decades of independence, the country has constructed major and minor bridges which have been completed which are Kirumi (Mara), Kagera River Bridge (Kagera), Rusumo Bridge (Kagera), Mkapa Bridge (Coast), Umoja Bridge (Mtwara), Kikwete Bridge (Kigoma), Sibiti (Singida), Mara (Mara), Mlalakuwa (Dar es Salaam), Momba (Rukwa), Lukuledi II (Lindi), Ruhuhu (Ruvuma / Njombe), Magufuli (Morogoro), Magara (Manyara) ), Nyerere (Dar es Salaam), Kavuu (Katavi), Lower Ruvu (Pwani) and many others.
With regard to experts in the engineering cadre, Prof Mbarawa said the number has risen from two engineers (1961) to currently 32,145 registered engineers.
“The Engineers Registration Board (ERB) has continued to supervise the implementation of training for professional engineers’ identified as continuing professional development (CPD) and the Structured Engineers Apprenticeship Programme (SEAP), whereby 3000 graduate engineers have been attached to all the key strategic projects,” he said.
As for contractors, he noted a total of 12,382 registered contractors being recognised by the Contractors Registration Board (CRB), which includes 11,916 local contractors and 466 foreign contractors.