Construction of the Francistown spaghetti junction is currently trailing behind schedule, as progress is at 22 percent against the planned 45 percent. This was revealed by the Project Manager, Wang Jiang during a tour of the project by Minister of Roads and Transport, Tshenolo Mabeo in Francistown last week.
The project which was awarded to China Railways Seventh Group commenced in the third quarter of 2015 and is expected to complete in August 2016. Jiang said the project was delayed by the relocation of infrastructure belonging to amongst others, the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet), Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Water Utilities Corporation (WUC).
“The relocations caused some delays and hindered our progress. We however promise to double our efforts to ensure that the project is completed well on time and the expected date of completion is met. We also want to increase our manpower,” said the Project Manager.
The Francistown Spaghetti Junction is part of the 30km Tonota- Francistown dual road project which cost government over P1 billion. Once complete the state of the art structure, which is the first of its kind in Botswana, is expected to ease traffic congestion and give the second city a facelift.
Addressing the media after the tour of the project, Minister Mabeo said that as government they are highly concerned by government projects which do not complete on time leading to cost overruns. He however acknowledged the challenges highlighted by the contractor, adding that the reasons given for the delay were valid.
“As you are aware, the spaghetti was constructed where there is a buildup area. I think as government and as clients, it’s high time that we should be proactive in addressing land expropriation issues in terms of services such as water, telecommunications and power. This will help us with information on how to deal with challenges of relocating before we award projects to contractors,” he said.
He however said that prior to undertaking projects; his Ministry has always engaged all stake-holders. However, said Mabeo, it is sometimes disappointing to note that some of the service providers do not have information on where their infrastructure is located around the country, which often deters government projects.
Given the amount of work left for the spaghetti junction to complete, the Minister urged the contractor to intensify efforts to meet the completion deadline.
Mabeo assured the public that his Ministry will keep a vigilant eye on the project to ensure that it is completed on time.
“You have to agree with me that this project has led to devastating traffic congestion in this city. This adversity has affected the business community and everyone who uses the roads. Therefore it is very important that we ensure that the project completes well on time,” he said.