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Spaghetti nears completion

Spaghetti nears completion
THE ROAD AHEAD: The interchange

The iconic Francistown interchange popularly referred to as the “spaghetti” is in its final stage of construction and is expected to be complete on or before end of May this year.

North East Chief Roads Engineer Letlhogela Radipata told a recent stakeholder meeting in Francistown that the next engagement with the stakeholders will be the handing over of the project.

“We are under immense pressure to finish the interchange which is lagging behind. So, we found it compelling to close the remaining three junctions in the city.”

The Chief Roads Engineer stressed that the closure of the junctions was unavoidable and that it was necessary in order to finish works on the multi-million pula worth interchange.

“We are closing the junction at the fire Station, the junction between the University of Botswana and Nyangabgwe hospital and then Somerset East Extension junction,” said Radipata.

“Closing the junctions at the same time is to enable the contractor to take a shorter time work on the last stretch of the interchange. It is also for the safety of motorists and public as construction works continue on the interchange,” he explained.

The closure of the junctions were effective from this Tuesday and are expected to remain shut for at least four weeks, a move which will see motorists spend a little more time stuck in traffic jams around the city.

“However, we are going to open one of the carriageways of the flyover. The right one on the right-hand side when facing west. We are also going to open to traffic the A1 going under the flyover obviously passing in front of Thapama. The A1 road behind Met-Court will be opened for traffic going southwards,” explained the Chief Engineer.

By opening the carriageways above and under the fly over, Radipata says, traffic is expected to ease slightly.

The Francistown business community were also updated on the progress made.

“The progress of the interchange is very significant and stands at 93.7 percent. We are left with finishing touches. Despite the delay, the project is still within budget. Out of the P979 000 000, we have used P797 000 000. Those are some of the good and positive things of the project, as much as we are lagging behind time,” he concluded.

Construction of the interchange started in October 2012 and was expected to take 18 months.

China Railways Seventh Group is the contractor of the project.