FRANCISTOWN: President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said that although the Francistown Thapama Interchange, which has since been renamed Kenneth Nkhwa Interchange, has lived up to the expectation (in terms of reducing traffic congestion in the city centre), government is aware of the persistent traffic challenges occasioned by trucks that pass through the city to different destinations such as Zambia.
He said this on Friday, during a ceremony to mark the official renaming of the Thapama Interchange, Francistown Sport Complex and Francistown International Airport.
To address the traffic problem Masisi noted that currently a tender is being floated for the construction of Mandunyane-Shashemooke road and Borolong -Chadibe-Mathangwane road respectively. He said that government is committed to starting the construction of the roads as soon as the tender processes were complete.
Masisi stated that the two roads that will be linked together will measure approximately 58km and will be strategically designed in such a way that they will by-pass the city to help alleviate traffic challenges posed by trucks.
He added: “We decided on these alternative routes after realising that the Francistown and Tonota road (revamped a few years ago) will not be able to accommodate the anticipated volume of traffic following the completion of the Kazungula Bridge”.
According to Masisi, traffic of other Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states is also expected to divert from other routes to use the Kazungula bridge, which is why there is need for the country to rebuild some of the roads destined for Kazungula.
It is anticipated that after its construction the Kazungula bridge would help reduce the transit delays currently being experienced by ferrying of cars and trucks across the Zambezi River to Zambia as well as those destined to
The President also said that modern roads will also help the country realise Vision 2036, which aims amongst others, to help Botswana to economically benefit from its geographic location by serving as a trade link for SADC and beyond, as well as attract foreign direct investment.
Masisi added that the government is committed to improving infrastructure in the aviation sector as evidenced by the refurbishment of the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and the Kasane International Airport in recent years.
The President further noted that the construction of the Maun International Airport Terminal building is ongoing and phase one of its construction is to be completed by April 2020.
He emphasised that a sound aviation sector is also crucial in terms of helping the country to attract foreign investors and fostering growth amongst local enterprises.
“I am reliably informed that in the last financial year a total of 870,375 passengers transited by air through Botswana’s four international airports. This is a significant number. We need to constantly improve our airports so that they become attractive to investors and can continuously handle a high volume of visitors. Additionally, if more visitors come to Botswana key economic sectors such as hotels, other tourism related businesses and the transport industry among others stand to benefit by offering services to those who come into the country.”