Even before the re-construction of the Francistown/Tonota road begins, government is already mulling over the challenges that it will encounter.
Ministry of Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary, Thato Raphaka, has cited a number of envisaged challenges ahead of the construction of the long awaited road to its completion fearing imminent unavoidable delays could be encountered on the way.
┬áAddressing a full council meeting in Francistown on Monday, Raphaka said the challenges include the relocation of Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) water pipes and manholes along the road which he feared would come at huge cost for his ministry.
“We have been negotiating with the Water Utilities Corporations over the relocation of their infrastructure along the road which includes manholes and water pipes. These obviously will come at a cost to us (government),” he said.
Among the many challenges Raphaka alluded to is a shortage of land within the middle of the city as well as relocation of some plots in the Somerset East location to pave way for the expanded road.
“According to the design of the road, 30 to 32 residents will be affected as you know that that this is a dual carriage road. We are pleading with the councillors to help us resolve this issue,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary added that some of the commercial plots along the road will also be affected and, as such, they are still consulting with the owners on how to resolve the issue.
Raphaka also said that due to the fact that the road is classified as one of the busiest roads in the Francistown city, all consideration should be given not to inconvenience motorists.
He said that they are currently looking at where they can create a by-pass for motorists.
“A good number of motorists use this road from Gaborone, Tonota and Tati Siding into the city and we will therefore have to provide a by-pass road so as to not distract their movement into the city during construction,” he said.
Raphaka added that his ministry had engaged Pula Consultants as their consultant on the project and are awaiting Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) approval to award the tender to the relevant contractor.
He expressed disappointment over the poor participation of local contractors when the ministry floated the tender.
“Thirteen non-citizen companies submitted their bids at tender stage. Sadly, not a single citizen contractor submitted a bid,” he said.
In the meantime, government is negotiating with Tati Company for a quarry site.