Maputo, 28 Mar (AIM) – The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will finance a project for the assessment and diagnosis of the state of Mozambican bridges, particularly those built along the country’s main north-south highway (EN1), which runs the entire length of the country, from Maputo to the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado.
The initiative, budgeted at 300 million meticais (about 4.7 million dollars at the current exchange rate), aims to ensure the transfer of bridge maintenance technology to the country, to be managed by technicians from the National Roads Administration (ANE), and the consultants and contractors involved in the construction of roads and bridges. This is an activity that involves a thorough assessment of the state of bridges, with a view to designing the type of intervention adjusted to Mozambican reality.
In a first phase, the priority is for about 200 bridges built from Ponta de Ouro, in the far south of the country, to Sunati, in Cabo Delgado.
The information was provided to reporters in Maputo by a JICA specialist in bridge matters, Takahashi Massamune, who is responsible for conducting the project over a four-year period, within the framework of technical cooperation for improving the capacity of maintenance and management of bridges in Mozambique.
“The project aims to design an integrated bridge management and maintenance system through the creation of a complete database, to assist the sector in decision making. It will increase the capacity of intervention in bridges by the National Road Administration (ANE)”, said Massamune.
He explained that the project will allow the extension of the bridges’ life span, conferring greater durability to the infrastructures that, for the most part, were built in the colonial era.
“Most Mozambican bridges just need proper rehabilitation and maintenance for maximizing their life span”, he added.
In addition to bridge maintenance, ANE and JICA are working in partnership on the construction and maintenance of roads, aiming to ensure the improvement of about 600 kilometres of the national road network, in the northern provinces of Nampula and Niassa.
This is a joint project between the Mozambican and Japanese governments, which also covers the exchange of technicians and experts between the two countries to share relevant experiences in the rehabilitation and construction of bridges and roads, where Japan has vast theoretical and practical experience.
As a pilot initiative, the project will advance with the diagnosis and rehabilitation of two bridges in the southern area, in Magude and Incoluane, in Maputo and Gaza provinces.
According to the specialist, most Mozambican bridges were built more than 50 years ago and have never been subject to major maintenance.
Mozambique has a total of 1,297 bridges, 194 of which are along EN1.