There will be more traffic congestion for the next coming 18 months in Francistown as several roads into the city will be diverted to give way for the construction of the Spaghetti junction at Thapama circle.
This was said by the Chief Roads Engineer in the North East District, Letlhogela Radipata during a consultation meeting with stakeholders in Francistown last week. He said the old Thapama circle will be demolished in order to construct the new spaghetti junction which is likely to lead to more traffic congestions.
“The old Thapama circle will be demolished and will be closed in April 2015 as construction of the new spaghetti road commences. Some of the roads in the city will be diverted to give way for construction and there will be disturbances in the flow of traffic. We appeal for patience among road users,” he said.
The tender for the spaghetti or interchange junction was awarded to China Railways Seventh Group at over P100 million. The whole project including the rehabilitation of the Tonota-Francistown road cost government close to P1 billion.
He also said that relocations of homes and commercial plots along the roads were done successfully to give way for this project. He further said some of the delays were due to the relocations of the Water Utilities and Botswana Power Corporation infrastructure. He also said that they will work closely with the police to closely monitor the usage of diverted roads by the motorists.
“The Tonota-Francistown road is progressing very well and it is currently at 69.2 percent against the planned 71.4 percent. The Minister of Roads and Transport, Tshenolo Mabeo is expected to officiate at the ground breaking ceremony for the spaghetti junction in April,” he said.
“This interchange design project was first designed in 2002 by Pula Consultants, a citizen owned company and the project was shelved because the country was still going through the challenges posed by the global recession. The project was then resuscitated in 2012, after the realisation that Francistown had a serious problem of traffic congestion,” he added.
The Traffic Officer from the Police, Superintendent Ditiro Mogatlaatshwene said ever since the commencement of the construction of the Tonota-Francistown road, they have been working very closely with the Ministry of Roads and Transport and the contractor to ensure the success of the project.
“We also hope that this state of the art spaghetti junction will also help ease the traffic flow in and out of the city as traffic congestion is a serious problem for Francistown,” he said.
Mogatlaatshwene said as construction of the spaghetti road begins, they will have to deploy additional police officers in most of the roads to make sure that the road users especially motorists follow road regulations in the new diverted roads.
“We will also work with the contractors to help us establish road signs in the course of construction to help road users. We also appeal to members of the public to avoid using their own vehicles, but use public transport to avoid traffic congestions,” he said.
Giving a vote of thanks, the Deputy City Clerk (Technical) Robert Letlhole from the Francistown City Council (FCC) said the 18 month closure of the Thapama circle due to construction will be a major challenge, but urged Francistown residents to be patient as this project is a positive development for the second city.
“Despite the fact that the construction of the project will pose challenges to the people of Francistown, we should take pride in the fact that good things lie ahead due to the development of our roads. This project will definitely bring opportunities for Francistown and will improve the city’s economy,” he said.