News Column

Portuguese Company Must Rebuild Botched Road

April 29, 2014

A Portuguese company which botched the reconstruction of one of the major avenues in Maputo has agreed to tear up the damaged stretch of road and do the repairs from scratch.

The road in question, Julius Nyerere Avenue, is 3.5 kilometres long. It was severely damaged in the floods of 2000 which opened a massive crater at the northern end of the avenue. Rehabilitating the avenue was budgeted at US$12.5 million, provided by the World Bank and by Maputo Municipal council's own funds.

The Portuguese company Construtora Britalar won the contract and should have delivered the rebuilt road to the City Council in February. But the work ran months behind schedule. Worse still cracks began to appear in the newly laid asphalt, and even to untrained eyes it was clear that Britalar's work had been shoddy.

Samples of the materials used by Britalar were collected and sent to three laboratories, two in Mozambique and one in Portugal. All the laboratories agreed that the road had started to crumble away because of the poor quality of the materials.

Speaking at a Maputo press conference, the City Councillor for infrastructures, Victor Fonseca, said that Britalar has accepted responsibility for the botched work. It has agreed to tear up the asphalt from the 1.6 kilometres of road where the problems occurred, and relay both the base and the tarred surface of the road. This will cost Britalar about US$1.2 million.

Fonseca said that Britalar has presented a programme of work to rebuild the road again, starting in May, and lasting for 70 days. The rebuilding will be done in phases to avoid excessive disruption to traffic.

Fonseca guaranteed that supervisors will follow Britalar's work closely to ensure that all the technical recommendations are complied with, in line with the new contract that Britalar has signed with the Council.

The other 1.9 kilometres of the avenue does not suffer from the same problems. "In this section the drainage has been concluded, and the embankments are being built. It is forecast that the road will be delivered in October this year", said Fonseca.

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Source: AllAfrica

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