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Heavy rains destroy Rumphi- Karonga M1 Road

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Heavy rains Tuesday washed away Jalawe Bridge cutting off the M1 Road that connects Rumphi and Karonga districts between Phwezi and Mchenga Coal Mine.

The road is impassable by vehicles, and people have to walk to connect to the two districts.

Both Roads Authority (RA) officials and Rumphi District Commissioner, Lusizi Nhlane, confirmed the development but said everything will be solved as soon as possible.

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Jalawe mini-bridge is about 300 metres from the newly-constructed state-of-the-art South Rukuru Bridge and it also connects Mzuzu and Chitipa via Karonga.

Nhlane said following the heavy downpour last night, the bridge developed major cracks and failed to support the tarmac and the holding pillars were washed away.

“Speedy water passes the small bridge from up the hills. Therefore we believe due to heavy downpours last night, the small holding chunks could not withstand the force of the water.

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“It is sad that vehicles from both sides have to wait for the people we apologise for inconveniences. However this is beyond our control and we have referred the problem to the Roads Authority,” Nhlane said.

He, however, said the council requested Police from Rumphi Station to handle traffic and other possible minor accidents.

However, Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango, has said his ministry has sent a contractor to renovate the bridge.

“We know how crucial the road is and we have immediately sent our emergency contractor at the site. We have hope that the mini-bridge will be maintained as soon as possible and probably before Wednesday,” Mhango said.

The only diversion is passing through Njakwa- Livingstonia Road that connects to Chitimba Trading Centre.

Meanwhile, large vehicles are on the queue because they cannot use Njakwa-Livingstonia Road because of its bends.

By yesterday evening, repairing work had started.

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