Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango has admitted that most of the bailey bridges still in use on Malawi’s roads are worn-out and need to be replaced immediately to avoid risking motorists and other road users.
Baileybridge.com, a website for one of the official manufactures, indicates that bailey bridges are meant for road diversions or detouring traffic for construction.
In Malawi, however, such bridges have remained on the country’s roads for years despite their shorter lifespan, leading to concerns from the public that the government is not making efforts to ensure the roads are safe.
“We are on top of that game and we will make sure that all the bailey bridges are removed and replaced with proper bridges,” Mhango said.
Roads Authority (RA), in conjunction with the Malawi Defence Force, last month erected a bailey bridge across South Rukuru River at Jalawe in Rumphi following a heavy downpour in some parts of Karonga and Rumphi.
It was, however, indicated during the exercise by RA technical experts that the bridge was meant to be used for two months to allow Sawa Group, a contractor they identified, to embark on permanent works on the site.
But Mhango disclosed that the government plans to replace 10 bailey bridges with permanent ones.
He admitted that bailey bridges are meant for emergencies and not for permanent purposes.
“We are about to go through a tendering process because we need these bridges in case of emergency elsewhere,” he said.
He, however, could not say when the exercise would start and how much government would spend on the exercise.
“I am not making any commitment on the timeframe but it will be carried out,” Mhango said.
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