KATIMA MULILO, 30 MAY – The Zambezi regional leadership has expressed concern over the heights of roads, bridges and a number of culverts constructed in all district roads in the region, as these were damaged during the floods.
The leaders expressed concern at a stakeholders’ meeting of the Roads Authority (RA), Road Fund Administration (RFA) and the Ministry of Works and Transport at Katima Mulilo on Monday.
The meeting was convened to discuss the impact of recent floods on roads in the region.
Councillor of Linyanti Constituency, Cletius Sipapela cautioned that with climate change and global warming, there is a need to plan ahead, saying that the worst could happen in the future.
“While not undermining the expertise and knowledge of road engineers, there is a need to combine that knowledge with indigenous knowledge in the process of constructing roads in the region,” he said.
Sipapela said there are elders who have lived in the region for more than 50 years who could be a source of information as they have witnessed the worst floods in the region, among them, that of 1958, 1968-69 and 1978, he added.
Kabbe North Councillor, Peter Mwala made reference to the Namalubi/Isize Luhonono road that is under construction, stressing that there is a need to increase the number of bridges and culverts in flood-prone areas.
“The bridges need to be high enough so that people and their livestock are able to pass through at all times, especially when water is not too high and during dry seasons,” he said.
Katima Rural Constituency Councillor, Matengu Simushi added that the Ngoma Muyako road that was equally affected this year is too low in some areas and needs to be raised.
On his part, Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa supported the idea of increasing culverts along the Namalubi/Isize Luhono road and increasing the height of the road.
Sankwasa stressed that if those challenges are addressed, there will be progress and reduction in the maintenance cost over the coming years.
He advised that culverts not be directed towards homesteads or villages as they cause flooding in some villages that were not supposed to be flooded.
RA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Conrad Lutombi and RFA CEO, Ali Ipinge acknowledged shortages in the planning, saying it needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency to sustain the lifespan of the road infrastructure in the region.