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The African Development Bank-funded Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road is one of Malawi’s safest roads, according to the project’s completion report
The project, began in 2013, wrapped up in 2018.
Bank financing of USD$30mn went into widening the road, resurfacing, and flattening sharp curves, streamlining the movement of people, goods and services between the two towns. Most of the road’s users in the region work in agriculture, fishing and tourism, and use the road to reach health centres, schools, and markets.
“The project involved rehabilitation of 47km of road of main road and three km of township. The project completed within the original contract sum with savings. The savings from the loan was used to construct an additional 1.3km of dual carriageway in Mzuzu town,” according to the project completion report, directed by Davies Makasa, principal transport engineer at the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Following the rehabilitation, transport costs, vehicle operating costs and the number of traffic accidents fell significantly. Vehicle operating costs dropped from US$0.49 to US$0.37 per vehicle and per kilometre and travel time between the two towns was cut to less than 40 minutes.
“Increase in public transport fleets is expected to bring about competition, which in the medium- to long-term will reduce fares for passengers and tariffs for cargo,” stated the Bank’s report. “All accident-prone spots have been eliminated. Stopping sight distances have been increased and all black spots have been removed. This intervention is expected to reduce accidents by more than 60 per cent, especially by small public passenger buses.” The road also saves international traffic from Zambia and Tanzania to and from Malawi and Mozambique.
According to the report published in April 2019, the project has led to the creation of 300 direct and indirect new jobs.