The long awaited interchange junction or “Spaghetti” as it is commonly known has been finally opened for Francistown motorists to use.
The road which is the first of its kind in the country opened two days before the Easter holidays making it easy to drive around the city.
Although part of the project is still under construction, residents of the second city especially the business people, could not hide their excitement as the development will reduce the agony of traffic. The project is currently at 90 percent completion stage.
Francistown has over the years been haunted by clogged traffic congestions, a situation which has mainly affected the business community and chased away potential investors.
This interchange junction is a component of the 30km TonotaÔÇôFrancistown road which is now complete. The whole project has cost the government over P1 billion. China Railways Seventh Group, a Chinese company, is currently undertaking the project. However, the project was supposed to have been completed in August 2015 but the contractor said that he experienced a number of challenges amongst them shortage of skilled manpower, outsourcing of materials from abroad and relocation of services in the construction area.
Completion of this project is expected to give Francistown a facelift and attract investors into the city. Over the years Francistown has been developing at a snail’s pace and one of the factors is poor infrastructure.
The last nail in the coffin was when a number of mines around Francistown closed down last year leading to an increase in unemployment and poverty
However, taxi drivers and business people in the second city are particularly thrilled by this development as they say the construction of the Spaghetti had put a deadlock on the progress of their businesses.
Speaking to the Sunday Standard in an interview, Francistown Deputy Mayor Godisang Radisego confirmed that the spaghetti road is now officially open to motorists even though it is not 100 percent complete.
He said there were two ramps remaining, which join the big fly-over, one coming from the Bank of Botswana side and the other off-ramping to the Thapama Cresta Hotel side.
“The road is 90 percent complete but it really helps with traffic. The only place that is still a bit congested is the road behind FNB, used by motorists towards Nzano Mall. Another hiccup that we are currently experiencing is the road between the Trade Centre and Marang Super Spar, which is still under construction. However, a road between Donga and Coloured location has been opened for motorists to drive through smoothly,” he said.
Radisego apologised on behalf of Francistown City Council to motorists and the people of Francistown about the delay of this project and assured them that it will be complete within three months. He further said they had put visible road signs around the city to help motorists navigate their way.
Pedestrians are also happy that congestion in their city will be reduced thanks to the opened spaghetti road. “At long last we will be able to get home on time now that the spaghetti road is open. I used to get home late due to traffic congestion in a taxi for hours. We have to thank God for this noble development,” said Bashingi Molapisi, a resident Blocks location of Francistown.
Residents in the Blocks location were particularly hit hard by the delayed construction of the spaghetti construction as they did not get as many taxis and combis as they used to due to congestion.
Gopolang Raditsebe, also expressed her happiness over the new development. She said the opening of the Spaghetti Junction has reduced traffic even though some of the roads are still under construction.
“We were not making as much profit as we had been doing before. We even stopped going to certain areas like the Blocks area and Selepa. I believe that once the whole project is complete and open we will make even more money than we did in the past years. It is all smooth sailing right now,” she said with a glow of hope in her eyes.
Speaking from a business perspective, mobile vegetable vendor, Boitumelo Maseko, said after opening part of the spaghetti junction road traffic in Francistown is better.
“I am sure taxi drivers will be making more money now as well since they can drive around town with no congestion. Accidents will also be reduced,” she said in conclusion.