Construction of the Thamalakane Bridge was nearly stopped recently as majority of the North West District Councillors doubted the constructor’s ability and lack of consultation.
A delegation from the Department of Roads went to address the special council about the construction of the new bridge but failed to impress the civic leader who said they had not been consulted about the project.
Deputy Director in the Department of Roads Pius Mphathiwa produced the artistic design and told the council that the project would be completed in 15 months (From 8th January 2013 to 7th April 2014) at a total cost of P75, 100, 348.81 by Colic Construction Company.
He said that after the Geotechnical Investigations were carried out it was recommended that the pilling type of foundation be adopted because of the type of group which does not have rocks.
He also mentioned that concrete would be sourced from Kuke and Francistown Quarries while gravel would be source from Thamalakane river.
Immediately after his presentation, Councillor Tapologo Mosika of Matlapana ward attacked the delegation saying they have engaged a, ‘Fong Kong’ company which will destroy their river.
He said that the amount of gravel that is being piled in the river would disturb the flow of water.
He demanded the company’s track record and called for immediate discontinuation of the work and was supported by majority of the councillors who said the Environmental Impact Assessment was done in 2008/9 and that it was outdated.
“Where is the EIA report, it is outdated and irrelevant this time,” commented specially elected councillor Abel Molelo.
Mphathiwa had said that the assessment was done in 2008 as the bridge was supposed to have been built at that time but could not go on as there was economic recession.
Councillors said that good experienced companies would not pile gravel in their river but drill in the water without endangering water species which they say are the lives of Batawana.
They then demanded to be shown an artistic impression of the bridge saying that the construct could be building a culvert.
After a long discussion and failure to produce the artwork, Acting Council Chairman Duncan Enga said that it would be better if the project was suspended by the community and not the council as it would impact negatively on their coffers if the contactor failed to finish the project on time.
It was also agreed that the community will decide what to do with the old bridge, initial there were suggestions of leaving it to be used by donkey carts, being destructed or being made a heritage site.
The 120m bridge will consist of six spans (columns) of 20m to support it.
Drainage Culverts, pedestrian walkways, street lightning and Bus bays will be included according to Sam Waithaka of Pula Consultancy, a consultancy company which has been engaged at the tune of P3, 254,101.48.