THE long-awaited US$286.9 million Mongu-Kalabo road has finally been commissiond with President Edgar Lungu declaring that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government under his leadership would continue with its economic infrastructure development across the country.
President Lungu said the construction of the Mongu-Kalabo Road had been a long and strenuous journey punctuated with numerous challenges which had threatened the delivery of the project to the people of Western Province and Kalabo in particular.
The 35 kilometre stretch of the Mongu-Kalabo road is laid on 26 bridges across the mashed planes of the Zambezi River and becomes the most expensive road infrastructure in the country.
President Lungu said the Mongu-Kalabo Road which was constructed by Avic International was not only an engineering marvel but a serious economic and social significance to the people of Western Province and the entire country.
He recounted the number of attempts by successive governments to construct the road but had not succeeded.
The Head of State recalled that the first attempt to construct the Mongu-Kalabo Road by Government started in the year 2002 when a company called Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) was engaged.
He said the embankments and culverts were unfortunately swept away by the floods of 2003 and 2004 thereby making the movements of the people and their goods difficult as citizens had to resort to dugout canoes as the only mode of transport.
President Lungu said the PF Government would continue to upgrade all the road infrastructure across the country and that the construction of the Mongu-Kalabo Road was going to open Western Province to investment apart from promoting trade between Zambia and neighbouring Angola.
The Head of State paid tribute to his predecessors including late president Levy Mwanawasa, late president Michael Sata and former president Rupiah Banda for their contribution to the construction of the road.
President Lungu has named the longest bridge on the Mongu-Kalabo Road after Litunga Lubosi Imwiko the second, the current King of the people of Western Province.
And Chinese ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming said although the Mongu-Kalabo Road was only about 35 kilometres, it was one of the most difficult assignment undertaken by the Avic International, a Chinese construction company.
Mr Yang said the Mongu-Kalabo Road was completed on schedule despite its difficult engineering and architectural design.
Works and supply Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said the road was constructed with such a superior design that was going to stand the test of time.
Meanwhile, the Litunga has paid tribute to President Edgar Lungu for working hard to ensure that the Mongu-Kalabo road was completed to ease the movement of people and goods.
The Litunga said the people of Western Province were happy that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government had continued with its massive economic infrastructure development in the region which had for many years lagged behind.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said the Litunga said this when President Lungu called on him at his Limulunga Palace yesterday.