Francistown residents’ five-year wait for the completion of the iconic interchange popularly known as the spaghetti junction in the country’s largest city is almost complete, with revised schedule putting it at end of May. Construction works of the spaghetti junction, first of its kind in the country, begun in October 2012. Now the project is about 93.7 percent complete. Awarded to China Railways Seven Group, the project that included the dualisation of the 30km Tonota-Francistown road into a four carriageway, gobbled close to P1 billion from the government’s coffers. “The expectation is that this is the last consultative meeting with the Francistown business community,” Chief Roads Engineer at the Department of Transport, Roads and Safety (DTRS), Letlhogela Radipata told a consultative meeting in Francistown last Wednesday. Radipata told the consultative meeting that DTRS will be inviting them for the official handing over of the project to the government by the contractor. With the completion of the project having been postponed on several occasions since early last year, Radipata said the contractor is working under pressure because they cannot afford another postponement.
“The project is lagging behind because it should have been handed over to the government. We are racing against time,” said Radipata. The spaghetti junction has nine components in total which include flyover, bridges, ramps, loops, noise and earthshaking barriers. Radipata said incessant rains delayed the project by 45 days. Although the business community lost a substantial amount of trade during the constriction period, it hailed the contractor, DTRS and the police for the good management of traffic in the city. “It was a long and exhaustive exercise that was characterized by many delays. And the delays meant more loss of business to us. But the long wait was worth it,” said Lenandi Kemp of Pharma North Pharmacies. Meanwhile, Radipata said three junctions leading in and out of the central business district (CDB) will be shut down this Tuesday or Wednesday to pave way for the final touches of the project.