Chinese-built road reduces traffic congestion in Botswana: minister

The construction of the Gaborone-Boatle dual carriageway has reduced traffic congestion between Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone and Lobatse, said a senior Botswana official on Tuesday.

“The dual carriageway road and Boatle intersection built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and Consolidated Construction Company (CCC) had contributed to easing traffic congestion, reducing delays, shortening travel times in Greater Gaborone and along the corridor, and improving mobility and boosted productivity in sectors of the economy,” said Thulaganyo Segokgo, Minister of Transport and Communications, at the official opening ceremony of the road in Boatle village, about 44 kilometres from Gaborone.

According to Botswana Police, road accidents have decreased since the construction of the road and intersection. Between 2014 and 2016, there were about 315 accidents with 12 fatalities, but this number has been significantly reduced since then.

The project, which cost about 1.2 billion Pula (about 103 million U.S. dollars) began in 2017 and was supposed to be finished in 2019, but it was delayed due to material shortage since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

An 18-km carriageway, slip lanes, service roads, two grade-separated interchanges, and 18-km median paving and kerbing were all part of the project. A bus stop, two bridges, four underpasses and 19 km of street lighting are also among them.

According to CSCEC, over 300 people have been working on the project, with more than 73 percent of them being local citizens. Furthermore, as part of the Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy and Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), 12 local contractors were hired as subcontractors for 255 million pula, or more than 20 percent of the project’s value.