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The rainy season is now threatening further delays to the conclusion of the suspension bridge spanning the Bay of Maputo, and linking central Maputo to the outlying urban district of Katembe.
Cited in Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Silva Magaia, chairperson of Maputo-Sul, the public company in charge of the bridge, said the problem concerns laying asphalt on the metallic platform of the bridge, which can only be done under favourable weather conditions.
“Our concern is with the weather”, he said. “If it rains in January, February and March, then we shall delay laying the special asphalt to the drier months. This will ensure that the completed bridge will only be delivered at the end of the first half on 2018. But we shall coordinate with the contractor (the China Roads and Bridges Corporation – CRBC) to see what measures can be taken in order not to compromise finalisation of the job”.
January and February are normally the wettest months of the year, and heavy rain has been falling in Maputo since the weekend.
Under the initial calendar, the bridge should have been complete by December. However, work was delayed for six months largely because stallholders in the Nwankakana informal market, which was blocking the northern access road to the bridge, refused to move without being compensated.
They had no right to compensation, particularly since Maputo-Sul provided them with new, clean stalls in an organised municipal market. But the Municipal Council declined to use force to move the stallholders, and instead negotiations were undertaken which led to Maputo-Sul providing compensation. The sum offered by Maputo-Sul has not been made public, but the company says it is much less than the stallholders were demanding.
Activities on the access road resumed last week, as the stallholders were removing their goods, despite protests from some that they have not received enough money.
The current estimate from Maputo-Sul is that the job is now 92 per cent complete – that figure covers the bridge, its access roads, and the roads from Katembe to Ponta de Ouro, on the border with the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal, and from Boane to Bela Vista, capital of the southernmost district of Matutuine.Source: AIM