Kabwe residents have accused government of favouring Asphalt Roads contractor working on roads in the town by extending the contract to next year despite the company failing to finish the project on schedule.
The residents, who last year held mass protests against the shoddy works on the roads, have also complained of being subjected to lead-contaminated dust emanating from the works.
But Central Province Permanent Secretary Edwidge Mutale has appealed to the residents to cooperate with the contractor to enable them perform their duties freely and come up with good roads.
He also advised the contractor to give a definite time frame on the road stretches they were working on to win the cooperation and faith of the road users.
Mutale confirmed the extension of the deadline on the 34 kilometeres of selected urban roads in Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi after being assured that the works will now be completed by April next year.
“It is unfortunate that Asphalt Roads has continued to get favours from the government despite doing shoddy works and subjecting us to a lot of lead-contaminated dust.” The residents complained.
They said the quality of roads being constructed by Asphalt was below standard.
Mutale however urged the residents; especially the vendors to move out of the streets that are being worked on following reports that newly laid pavements were being vandalized.
“The problem is some people and especially vendors have a tendency of climbing on the freshly-erected pavements, hence the damage. I would like our people to cooperate with the contractor to enable them do a good job, but the contractor must also be communicating on how long they will work on each stretch and assure the people that they would get back when they are done,” she said.
After launching the works last year, a lot of excitement filled Kabwe residents who have not had good roads for many years but the project has taken longer than scheduled, leading to mass protests by residents in May.
Asphalt Roads site engineer Jared Musonda said works were progressing well and was confident of finishing the works in good time.