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The completion of the bridge connecting Maputo city to Ka Tembe district on the other side of the bay may be slightly delayed.
After delays caused by the resettlement of people displaced by bridge construction and the more recent moving of Mozambique Electricity pylons, the completion deadline is now under threat from the delayed arrival of the bridge’s main roadway, which is being built in China.
Initially, the main deck sections were supposed to arrive in Maputo in May, but this deadline was extended to June.
Now, the contractor has announced a new postponement, saying that “safety and navigability” issues were delaying delivery.
No new date was set, but it is expected that the ship carrying the 57 deck sections will moor in Maputo next month, and both the Mozambican government and the Maputo Sul Development Company insist the bridge will be completed and provisionally passable by December.
A MediaFax source close to the project however suggests that the deck sections will only arrive in Maputo in September, making the December deadline overly optimistic.
Mediafax contacted Chairman of the Board of Directors of Maputo Sul, Silva Magaia, to pursue the matter, but was referred to press officer Virgilio Sithole, who avoided the term “delay” in describing the rather timid rate of progress.
The decking, he said, was on its way and would arrive in Maputo. “I just cannot say when. It is difficult to predict arrival dates, but as soon as we have any information we will share it.”
According to Sithole, security and day-to-day management issues at the Port of Maputo were behind the rescheduling of the arrival, but these had already been overcome.
“I can assure you the deck will be laid by December,” Sithole said, declining to comment on reports that the sections would only arrive in Maputo in September.
Each piece of the decking is 12 metres wide and 26 metres long – the width of the four-lane bridge. The three-metre-thick units weigh about 125 tonnes each and will be welded together to form the main deck.
The Maputo-Katembe Bridge is budgeted at US$725 million. It will carry four lanes of traffic a total of about three kilometres, including a road to Ponta do Ouro.