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Delayed Platjan Bridge Nears Completion

KOKETSO KGOBOGE
SELEBI-PHIKWE: The resident engineer for the P104 million Platjan Bridge, Gideon Msakwa, has revealed the project would be completed in August this year after a three-month delay.

He spoke during a tour of the construction site by media personnel that was organised by the SPEDU Company recently.

Despite the five months’ delay, the resident engineer said they expect to complete the project within budget. The delayed start was caused by difficulties in the acquisition of primary materials in the country.

Instead of taking-off in January last year the project started in May of the same year. Msakwa explained the 155-metre long bridge is currently at 80% to 85% complete.

He said the construction company was doing the finishing and had resumed construction of the approaching roads on both Botswana and South African sides. At completion the overall length of the project would be 560 metres long. “We ended up sourcing all construction materials from the South African side and we experienced problems with clearing the materials and it caused us a delay,” he told the journalists.

“We expect to conclude in August and within budget. At the moment we are standing

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at P85 million and that equates to the amount of work done.”

The bridge, which runs over the Limpopo River, is facilitated by the SPEDU Company.

Expectations are that the completion of the bridge would spur an economic renaissance of Selebi-Phikwe and its environs that collapsed following the infamous liquidation of BCL Mine.

A 30-kilometre stretch of unbarred road linking the bridge to serviced roads between Bobirwa and Selebi-Phikwe, however, remains a hiccup.

According to SPEDU chief executive officer, Mokubung Mokubung an additional P221 million would be needed for the construction of the road. He said the cost breakdown has been submitted to the Investment, Trade and Industry for consideration.

The bridge project is part of the bilateral agreement between Botswana and South Africa on the construction of infrastructure to open linkages that would facilitate trade across the two countries.

Under the agreement, the South African government has in 2016 completed construction of the Swartkopfontein Bridge that links the countries at the Ramotswa border.



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