RDA Project Manager for World Bank funded Projects Eng. Nicholas Mulenga.

Road Development Agency (RDA) Project Manager for World Bank funded Projects Eng. Nicholas Mulenga says 780 kilometres of roads have so far been rehabilitated and handed over for maintenance under the Zambia Improved Rural Connectivity Project (ZIRCP).

Eng. Mulenga says seven works contracts worth US$ 62.8 million are currently running.

Eng. Mulenga also disclosed that various community infrastructure such as boreholes, market sheds, storage sheds and bus shelters had also been constructed.

“Seven works contracts are running and 780 kilometres of roads rehabilitated and handed-over to maintenance and various community infrastructure has been constructed,” he said when he highlighted the successes scored so far under the project. 

He said this in his presentation during a conducted joint site inspections of rehabilitated roads under the ZIRCP by Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Permanent Secretary Eng. Danny Mfune, World Bank Country Manager Dr. Sahr Kpundeh and RDA Director and Chief Executive Officer Eng. George Manyele in Chibombo, Central Province.

ZIRCP is a government initiative being implemented with support from International Development Association (IDA) – World Bank in the form of a credit to the amount of US$ 200 million with a project completion date of December 31, 2025.

One of the rehabilitated roads in Chibombo district.

ZIRCP aims to improve accessibility by rehabilitating and maintaining Feeder Roads Countrywide using the Output and Performance-based Road Contracts (OPRCs).

OPRC is a concept designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of road maintenance operations.

OPRC is a contracting approach in which the Contractor is paid not for “inputs” but rather for “outputs.”

This approach avoids premature deterioration of road asset in general and ensures that road users are accorded a level of service, which is adequate for their needs and at the same time keeping costs for providing this service down.

In Zambia, OPRCs have typically been five year -long Contracts comprising of rehabilitation and improvement and maintenance of the roads.

Eng. Mulenga said the works on the ongoing seven contracts covered a total of 1620 kilometres in several Districts across four Provinces.

“Works on Package 1 (Mkushi District) and Package 2 (Chibombo and Mumbwa Districts) in Central Province commenced in June 2019 and the total of 500km has been rehabilitated or improved and is now under maintenance for the next 3 years,” he said.

He said works were ongoing on Package 3 in Eastern Province, Packages 7 and 8 in Northern Province and Packages 9 and 10 in Luapula Province bringing total length under Contract on ZIRCP to 1620 kilometres.

Eng. Mulenga said the procurement of Packages 4, 12, 14 and 15 had advanced, and Contracts were expected to be signed in Dec 2021 for Packages 12 and 14 and early 2022 for Package 4 and 15.

Eng. Mulenga said this would bring the total length under Contract to approximately 2600 kilometres.

Additionally, North-Western, Copperbelt and Lusaka Provinces roads would go to tender starting early 2022 and before mid-2022 and Contracts are expected to commence before end of 2022.

The total network to be covered under ZIRCP will come to approximately 4300 kilometres.

Meanwhile, ZIRCP National Coordinator Mr. Mwata Sekeseke says the project was promoting labour intensive initiatives as an avenue of job creation.

Mr. Sekeseke said it is anticipated that about 25,000 jobs would be created during the project life cycle.