Why good road networks key to road safety, reducing crashes

TANZANIA has one of Africa’s longest road networks, comprising an impressive 86,472 kilometres that span across the vast 947,300 square kilometres of land that make up East Africa’s largest country.

Tanzania’s road network is made up of some 12,786 km of Trunk roads, 21,105 km of Regional roads and another 52,581 km of District, Urban and Feeder roads.

The country has made great progress in reforming its trunk roads, improving the quality of the road network. The country has also seen significant gains in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) networks and has one of the most competitive domestic air transport sectors in Africa.

Like other countries in Africa, Tanzania has been attracting many donors to establish, expand and manage a variety of infrastructure projects ranging from road and airport construction, water and electricity supplies as well as ports like the Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara.

For a country that largely depends on road transport for travel and commerce, Tanzania has done an exceptional job of growing its road network over the last few years.

However, the country is faced with some challenges including lack of transparency in the infrastructure projects, corruption, high dependence on donor funds and poor management of the projects as well as lack of human capital to supervise the projects.

In view of this, the opening of the Simiyu Regional Main Road made with Asphalt and the Construction of the Roundabout junction in Bariadi District Council which cost Sh1 Billion will stimulate development and help eradicate poverty among the Residents of Simiyu Region.

The statement was made by the Simiyu Regional Commissioner, Dr Yahaya Nawanda when he officially opened the celebration of the Road Safety Week, the celebration which was held at the Old Main Buses Stand in Bariadi District where he is now exhorting the residents to use the opportunity start changing their lives.

In the Road Safety Week celebration which is expected to conclude today in the region, Dr Nawanda also spoke about the launch of the Ring Road (Roundabout) in Bariadi District Council, which was done during the visit of Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, where he explained that the residents of Simiyu Region and the neighbouring regions of Mara, Mwanza, Arusha and Manyara have now found an alternative route to use for their trips to the regions of Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and other areas in the middle of the country.

He said that in response to several transport challenges, including the lack of enough Passenger’s Bus Stations for several areas in the country, the government had provided funds amounting to Sh7 Billion for the Construction of a New and Modern Simiyu regional’s Bus Stand located at Somanda Ward in the Bariadi District Council.

He said that historically, Simiyu Region is one of the regions with many economic opportunities, the improvement of Road Infrastructure obviously opens up more opportunities for Investors, especially Small and Big Businessmen from within and outside the country to invest in various sectors including Tourism, Industry, Mining and the main backbone of the residents’ economy which is Agriculture activities.

“I know this country has people with great financial ability, they own various companies and organisations and institutions, it is now better for various investors to come to invest in Simiyu so that the citizens can get all the necessary services instead of following them outside the region because now we have friendly Road infrastructures and other important things,” he said.

Speaking during the Prime Minister’s visit that took place at the end of March, RC Nawanda also said that the coming of these roads will also help his citizens to travel and not just to transport crops, now even they will travel easily from one place to another, they will help the residents of the region to learn many things that are done by others in other places.

“The Simiyu Region is a place with a large circulation of money according to its environment, what was hindering were reliable road infrastructures, so the construction of many roads at the asphalt level has helped to open up all three sides of this region,” he said.

He said that at the moment it is easy and fast to go to other regions including Mwanza, Mara and Shinyanga also the region will be connected to the Capital City of the Country which is Dodoma Region and also all those roads connect the region to the business city of Dar es Salaam.

Recently during his visit to Simiyu Region, the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told the residents of the Bariadi District Council during the launch of the Round About section at the Old Main Bus Stand area in  Bariadi District Council, where he said that the residents of Simiyu should now start to use Road infrastructures to build a strong economy especially for the agricultural sector which is the backbone of the Region.

“Our major economic activity is agriculture, and now we have announced it as the leading region for Cotton crops cultivation, so I encourage the residents of the region to use these infrastructures such as roads as a catalyst for development,” he said.

Speaking about the areas of investment, Mr Majaliwa said Simiyu has many areas of investment; so far the Government has initiated strategic projects in the region including the construction of a packaging factory and for making chalk raw materials where they have more than 5,000 hectares for Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) projects in the region.

“These areas are currently easily accessible and have the entire necessary infrastructure including water and electricity, so this is an important opportunity for the residents of this region and other neighboring areas,” he said.

Speaking at the commemorations to mark the Road Safety Week held yesterday at the Old Bus Stand grounds, the Simiyu Regional Police Commander, Mr Blasius Chatanda explained that every good thing does not have challenges where he explains that the opening of the Road infrastructure has increased the number of cars, so road accidents have also increased.

Mr Chatanda said that the accidents damage the steel placed on the side of the road and added that the Tanzania Road Agency in the country (TANROADS) and the Police Forces continue to monitor the vandals of those sides and continue to educate the people on the right way to protect, maintain and preserve the roads built with a lot of money.

“We have started to take control measures by writing charges for repairs, some are repairing and others are reluctant to pay the costs of the repairs, but we continue to monitor them,” he said.

And the Head of the Traffic Department in Simiyu Region, Ms Namsambe Mwakatobe said that another challenge is education for Residents living in the vicinity of the Mara – Simiyu to Shinyanga roads.

“People steal road signs, for example ‘Reflectors’ they steal and attach them to their bikes, they should be educated so that they stop these acts,” she said.

He said that the people should continue to enjoy the fruits of the Sixth Phase Government but they should realise that the infrastructure being built is for their benefit and future generations so that they should take care of it.

Mr Zacharia Benjamini, a resident of Bariadi, has thanked the government for building the Round About infrastructure as it has made business activities easier for the residents of the region and prevented them from the Road accidents that were happening frequently in the area.

He said that right now the businessmen of Simiyu Region are holding their auctions in Bariadi and Maswa Districts and other areas within the Region and easily return back home, as previously they had to spend several hours due to the bad roads.

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