by Simon Capstick-Dale

New bridge for Zambezi

Project Focus

New bridge for Zambezi
New bridge for Zambezi

A $248-million joint contract to construct a road and rail bridge of 960 metres across the Zambezi River between Botswana and Zambia, has been awarded to South African engineering firm, Gibb. The bridge would replace the notorious Kazungula Ferry and construction on the bridge will begin in March 2014, with a projected completion date of early 2018.

The project was first announced in 2003 after 19 people died from drowning and crocodiles when one of the two ferries sank. A South African truck carrying raw cobult drove up to its boarding ramps after ignoring orders from the ferry operators to remain on the banks of the Zambezi.

After the initial announcement of the project, it was stalled because of objections from the Zimbabwean government that part of the bridge would straddle the country's territory.

Gibb's electrical engineering director Dr Willem Sprong said that one of the major challenges of the project is that there is an annual three-month flooding season in the area which will potentially hinder the construction.

Gibb is expected to earn at least R40m through a joint venture with Nippon Koei, and will manage the review of the pre-construction phase and detailed designs, as well as the construction.

The bridge will be unique in that it will consist of two one-stop border posts on either side of the bridge, which will prevent queues of motorists on the bridge itself.

Other companies ion the joint venture include Bothakga Burrow Botswana, CPP Botswana and Zulu Burrow Development Consultants.

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