New road to boost trade and investment
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