Gaborone - The completion of the Kazungula Bridge between Botswana and Zambia will not only boost bilateral trade but will also deepen regional co-operation in the SADC region.
According to Botswana’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the 923m bridge - whose construction started in 2014 at a cost of over US$259 million – is nearly 100 percent complete with final inspection scheduled for October 17, 2020 by a delegation from the two countries.
The bridge is sited across the Zambezi River at Kazungula Crossing, where Botswana and Zambia share a 750m border. It also goes over the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet.
Commenting on completion of the project, Botswana’s Vice-President Slumber Tsogwane added, “The multi-million-dollar project has been hailed as the Southern African Development Community economic integration success stories.”
Citing assessments by Zambia’s Road Development Agency, VP Tsogwane said load tests were conducted on Kazungula Bridge.
“The bridge is expected to reduce transit time for freight and passengers, boost the regional economy and even increase global competitiveness of goods from Botswana and Zambia due to reduced time-based trade and transport costs,” said the VP.
Described as a an impressive structural masterpiece by Botswana’s Minister of Transport and Communications Thulagano Segokgo, phase one of the project - comprising the bridge proper and approach ramps - is complete. Phase two, being a one-stop border post in Botswana, is more than 98 percent complete and expectations are that all necessary work will be finished by the end of October.
Phase three, which is the one-stop border post in Zambia is 99 percent complete.
The Independent Engineering Advisory Resources said the bridge was an “engineering marvel”, adding that: “Progress has been commendable, and credit ought to be given to the governments of Botswana and Zambia for attaining this milestone. Transiting between Botswana and Zambia will now be quicker and safer for both commercial and private traffic, which will be especially enhanced with the one-stop border post operations supported by the newly constructed Border Facilities on both sides of the border.”