The government of Mozambique will draw up a national bridge safety programme to ensure the longevity and weather resistance of the country’s bridges, said the Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources.
João Machatine also said that the combination of the destruction of bridges due to extreme weather events and vehicle overloading severely constrains road traffic, causing huge costs to the population and the state budget.
At the time, the minister was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the metallic bridge over the Licungo River, linking Namacurra and Maganja da Costa districts in central Zambezia province, according to the AIM news agency.
In addition to natural disasters, Machatine pointed to the chronic problem of overloading that has negatively contributed to the destruction of 15 bridges in the current five-year period, causing a loss of US$19 million.
Mozambique currently has 1,297 bridges, of which 1,115 (86%) are concrete, 143 (11%) are metal and 39 (3.0%) are wood.
The construction of the metallic bridge over the Licungo River was awarded to the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), which also built the Maputo-Catembe bridge and the circular road around the Mozambican capital.
With an estimated cost of 914 million meticais, paid out by the Road Fund, the bridge, which is 925 metres long and 7 metres wide, will be built in 12 months and will allow heavy vehicles to cross.
The previous bridge was destroyed by the 2015 floods, a situation made even worse by cyclone Idai last March, which widened the Licungo River bed. (Macauhub)