Upgrading works of the Francistown-Tonota road along the AI Gaborone/Francistown highway is behind schedule by 12percent, Francistown City Council mayor, James Kgalajwe has said.

Kgalajwe recently told the last Francistown full council session for the financial year 2013/14 that the construction works are progressing despite some few challenges and delays that has caused the project to be behind by 12percent.

“The project is at 33percent against the planned 45percent,” announced Kgalajwe amid murmurs from the council chambers.

Francistown councilors are not pleased with the pace at which the Chinese contractor, Railways Construction, is conducting the business.

Councilors here want the road to be finished as soon as possible in order to ease traffic congestion in the city.

During peak hours, both in the morning and evening, it is a hassle for one to drive along the AI highway out of and into Francistown.

It can take one almost an hour to drive from the city centre to Tatisiding – which is just 15km south of Francistown.

It is against this backdrop that councilors are complaining that the construction works are progressing at a snail pace.

They said the traffic jam that characterizes the road leading in and out of Francistown’s central business district (CBD) is not conducive for business.

However, the reality is that the progress is progressing at a snail pace.

Kgalajwe said the major challenge that needs to be resolved will be the options on alternative routes to be used when the Thapama circle will be dismantled.

“After its dismantling to implement the interchange roads that will be further turned into spaghetti roads in 2028 is a challenge,” said the mayor.

Motorists and commuters staying in the southern part of the central business district are increasingly getting irritated by the delay in completion of the road.

Residents here have complained that it is becoming more taxing for them to be driving to and from home.

Mothusi Jenamo of Block VI location here in Francistown said he drives for an hour and thirty minutes both in the morning and evening because of the traffic jam.

“Ninety minutes of an engine running non-stop is taxing. The vehicle will be consuming fuel for ninety minutes.

And it is money flowing out of my pocket,” said a visibly angry Jenamo.

If things could be done his way, Jenamo said he should have terminated the contractor’s tender because it is slow.

He urged the council to open up alternative roads for motorists to easily access the CBD.

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