New road to boost trade and in­vest­ment

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO BUSINESS - Tam­lyn Jolly

AFRICA’S long­est sus­pen­sion bridge is of­fi­cially open for busi­ness, con­nect­ing the road net­work be­tween Ma­puto and Kosi Bay.

Mozam­bique Pres­i­dent Filipe Nyusi de­clared the bridge and road open dur­ing an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony on Sat­ur­day,

The new road will see the driv­ing time be­tween Kosi Bay and Ma­puto dras­ti­cally re­duced, from six hours on the pre­vi­ous sand roads to just 90 min­utes on the solid tar free­way.

The 3km-long sus­pen­sion bridge stretches across Ma­puto Bay, con­nect­ing Ma­puto in the north with KaTembe in the south.

This stretch could pre­vi­ously only be crossed by boat or ferry.

Hol­i­day­mak­ers will, how­ever, have to pay for the up­graded net­work as tolls have been in­sti­tuted.

There are two toll plazas in to­tal – one be­fore the Boane turn-off at Bella Vista and one at the ap­proach to the KaTembe/ Ma­puto bridge.

Toll costs will set driv­ers back by MTS260 (about R60).

In­ter­ested in the in­crease in tourism and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties within KZN, the provin­cial De­part­ment of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Tourism and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs re­marked that the new road net­work was a ‘huge achieve­ment’ and would boost trade and tourism be­tween the two coun­tries.

The build­ing of the bridge and up­grad­ing of Mozam­bique’s road net­work dates back to 1989, when the then pres­i­dent Samora Machel pro­posed a bridge across the Bay of Ma­puto as part of Ma­puto’s ur­ban­i­sa­tion pol­icy.

It was en­dorsed by the World Bank but, ow­ing to Mozam­bique’s civil war, the project was shelved.

When the R10-bil­lion, 120km project was even­tu­ally res­ur­rected a few years ago, the early stages of con­struc­tion were hin­dered by re­set­tle­ment is­sues.

Last Feb­ru­ary, stall hold­ers in Ma­puto re­fused to make way for the road with­out re­ceiv­ing com­pen­sa­tion.

Their ac­tions threat­ened to de­lay com­ple­tion of the north­ern ac­cess road to the sus­pen­sion bridge, but the dis­pute was later re­solved.

The 3km-long bridge is the high­est sus­pen­sion bridge in Africa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.