How a $260M bridge negotiated Africa’s most unusual border

As we speak, the pontoons sit ashore, mercifully redundant. You may spot them whereas crossing the 923-meter (3,028-foot) lengthy Kazungula Bridge, a $260 million mission co-financed and co-operated by Botswana and Zambia, {that a} 12 months into service has already remodeled this southern African commerce artery.
The bridge was conceived to hurry up journey alongside the Southern Africa Growth Group (SADC) North-South Hall, a route traditionally beset with expensive border delays.

Copper from DRC, Zambia and Tanzania touring south earlier than being shipped to China. Meals from South Africa touring north. Mining tools from Tanzania heading to the DRC and Zambia. All go throughout Kazungula, says Kaiko Salim Wamunyima, secretary common of the SADC Truck Drivers Affiliation of Zambia.

The bridge opened in Could 2021 however was over a decade within the making, explains Kazungula mission engineering supervisor Isaac Chifunda.

Geopolitics performed a big half within the bridge’s design. Kazungula spans an space of Africa often known as the “quadripoint,” says Chifunda. Sixty-five kilometers (40 miles) upstream from Victoria Falls, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe converge on the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers. The international locations’ borders prolong into the rivers, so Kazungula Bridge was formed with a pronounced curve to weave by way of the panorama, avoiding Zimbabwean waters, says Chifunda.

“Africa was massively represented on this mission,” says Chifunda. Though development was overseen by South Korean firm Daewoo E&C, the crew was multinational, he says, and uncooked supplies together with cement, metal and aggregates got here from throughout southern Africa.

As a major funding for Zambia and Botswana, the bridge is filled with know-how to make sure its long-term future.

Chifunda explains {that a} structural well being monitoring system “provides indicators to which a part of the bridge wants upkeep. And we even have a climate station — we measure wind pace, rainfall, we even measure excitation, that’s, the motion of the (suspension) cables.

“If there may be hazard, the station will ship a sign by way of a message on the cellphone, by way of e-mail as nicely, in order that the 2 member states can attend to any upkeep wants.”

New customs

Driver Memory Lambie poses with her truck. "The bridge is 100% perfect to us," she says.

At both finish of the bridge are one-stop customs workplaces, so freight crossing the border solely wants processing by one nation. Expediency is critical now that there’s a increased quantity of every day visitors.

A pay-as-you-go electric truck is making deliveries on Rwanda's dirt roads

Chikumbi Chama, assistant commissioner on the Zambia Income Authority, says the bridge has allowed longer working hours, with the border open between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The previous border facility acquired as much as 80 vehicles a day, now customs is receiving over 280, she provides, and “the numbers are rising each day.” However regardless of the upper quantity of visitors, “(the) transit interval has been decreased to half a day.”

Truck driver Reminiscence Lambie criss-crosses the area with an indication studying “BOSS LADY” in her windscreen. Nonetheless, she remembers the “huge problem” crossing the Zambezi earlier than the bridge; 10-kilometer queues on the border and as much as two weeks ready to get into Zambia. “Now it is simple,” Lambie says, including with the sooner journeys, she’s in a position to spend extra time together with her kids.

Protecting the wheels in movement

A 12 months after opening, the bridge is but to appreciate its full potential, as a result of the practice line that runs by way of its heart is just not but operational.

The rail hyperlink is meant for each passengers and freight, says Chifunda, the mission engineer, however crossings will not run concurrently with vehicles and vehicles. “The bridge has been designed in such a method that the practice and the automobiles can’t use the bridge on the identical time,” he explains. Car visitors is cleared, then a practice crosses, then car visitors can resume.

An old pontoon sit on the banks of the Zambezi. Before the bridge, small ferries were the primary means of crossing the river.

As soon as related to current rail infrastructure in Botswana and Zambia, a fair increased quantity of cargo will be capable of journey throughout the bridge and round southern Africa, says Chama.

Google Equiano: Internet giant bets big on Africa with latest megaproject
This can seemingly carry down cargo transport prices. A 2015 African Growth Financial institution report recognized poor rail hyperlinks in landlocked international locations (like Botswana and Zambia) as limiting their financial potential. Diesel-powered rail freight might be as much as 75% cheaper than street freight, but roads nonetheless deal with the overwhelming majority of cargo within the SADC.

“Sooner or later panorama, I see rail cargo turning into a distinguished characteristic,” Chama provides. However a timeline for when the bridge can be totally related is unclear, with talks between Botswana and Zambia ongoing, says Chifunda.

Within the meantime, vehicles proceed to go backwards and forwards throughout the Zambezi River, with higher haste and ease than ever earlier than. For drivers like Lambie, it has already proved a revelation. “The bridge is 100% excellent to us,” she says.

Posted by :


Halo, Saya adalah penulis artikel dengan judul How a $260M bridge negotiated Africa’s most unusual border yang dipublish pada August 20, 2022 di website Enchantress Magazine

Artikel Terkait

Leave a Comment