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September 25, 2015

JICA Bridge Maintenance Capacity Building Project in Zambia

JICA Zambia is currently implementing a project on routine bridge maintenance. This project aims at capacity building the Road Development Agency (RDA) for bridge maintenance planning and operational management in order to effectively conduct routine maintenance of bridges.

The overall goal of this project is to enhance regular implementation of bridge maintenance activities by RDA and the project purpose is to strengthen the institutional capacity of RDA for bridge maintenance planning and operational management, this includes improvement of outsourcing contract management.

It is anticipated that through the implementation of this project, public safety will be ensured and the cost of bridge repairs will be minimized. Most of the bridges in Zambia have reached the critical stage of repairs and some major bridges have already reached the 50years old mark. The age of these bridges makes it imperative that they receive regular inspections, maintenance and rehabilitation. This will help to mitigate possible risks of injury to motorists and other users. It is therefore anticipated that through this project, technology transfer in skills and capacity building of RDA will be attained as a contribution towards national bridge good condition maintenance because bridges are an economic asset as they increase the accessibility to important goods and services such as food, health and education. In addition to this, bridges provide access to remote areas. In Zambia, some areas are completely cut off from the rest of the country; and the only way such places can be reached is through use of bridges- especially in the rainy season. In this regard, bridges play a highly significant role in improving accessibility to goods, services and locations.

There are over 460 bridges along national roads in Zambia and about 15% of these require urgent attention. In addition to this, the government has a plan to construct 144 new bridges over the rivers crossing selected roads by the end of 2015 together with its intention to replace all pontoons. JICA envisions that through this bridge maintenance capacity building project, RDA will be strengthened to effectively carry out routine maintenance on existing bridges and the bridges planned for construction in the near future. According to Mr Hideo Nagao, the Project Team leader, Japan has about 140,000 bridges and routine preventive maintenance has been experienced to be the most effective method.

As part of the project, a successful seminar was held at the Government complex where the JICA Resident Representative, Mr Hisanao Noda, in his speech mentioned the need for increased collaborative efforts in bridge maintenance as the task is a mammoth one.

Article by Njaame Kalililo-Mwila
Programme Officer-Energy and Transport, JICA Zambia

PhotoMr Hisanao Noda (JICA RR), Mr William Mulusa (RDA) and Mr Hideo Nagao (JICA Project Team Leader): signing meeting

PhotoA success seminar on the JICA-RDA Bridge project

PhotoBridge inspections in Eastern Zambia

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