Africa-Press – Malawi. Lilongwe will soon undergo a massive face-lift, thanks to the proposed Lilongwe eastern and western ring roads of total 138 km of length and construction of toll gates and shopping malls.
According to a Roads Authority pre-feasibility study report, the proposed stretch of the ring roads passes through Nathenje – Nalikule – Lumbadzi – Chitipi – Likuni – Bunda back to Nathenje, thereby connecting M14 and M12 from the east and western side of Malawi, respectively.
The Lilongwe eastern ring road and western ring road project is part of the Malawi National Transport Master Plan 2017 – 2037 goals for improved road services to cater for other industries.
President Lazarus Chakwera said in Parliament recently that transport infrastructure and public works have been identified as accelerators of economic activities, and that there can be no exchange of goods and services without transport infrastructure.
The implementation of the proposed routes will boost economic activities and create employment within the project implementation area and for other skilled workers across the country. The route will also divert traffic from northern part of Malawi and Southern part of Malawi from using Lilongwe city routes thereby reducing traffic congestion.
“The benefits of the Project are multi-fold. It will substantially reduce the travel time between motorists travelling from and to north and southern part of Malawi. In addition to the improved connectivity, it will also provide a boost to the economic status of the villages and towns falling in the dedicated Project area.
“Overall improvement will be expected in local area in terms of better connectivity to economic, social and political hubs of the country; faster growth and outreach to better and improved facilities; fast and safe connectivity resulting in savings in fuel, travel time and total transportation cost; development in mining sector; reduction in accidents; better approach to medical and educational services; faster transportation of perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products; better opportunities for transporting, processing and marketing of agricultural products; and indirect and direct employment opportunity to people from all skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled streams,” reads the report.
Additionally, the report says there will be development of backward areas through rapid industrialization, access to distant markets, and creation of ancillary ecosystem through highway amenities, support services and industrial and manufacturing areas.
The proposed ring roads are in line with the Malawi vision 2063 agenda to have “world-class, well maintained and expanding road network connecting the urban and rural areas to local and international markets”.
The proposed project is in feasibility study stage and after study and the granting of terms of reference (ToRs), a detailed project report (DPR) shall be completed. The DPR shall comprise of the planning brief, including planning concept, land use planning, assessment of infrastructure demand, and amenities and facilities.
There is proposed areas for industrial site along the proposed routes. These include agricultural industrial sites where farm produce can be processed into finished products for the urban markets. The proposed ring road can transform a total of 26,000 hectares of land into industrial sites.
The proposed road alignment passes through a total of 3,000 hectares of land agricultural area and trading of Makalani, Mpelani, Malande and Manondo. These areas have a potential of being developed into residential plots where urban houses can be constructed for the town dwellers.
There are four proposed shopping malls under the project. These are the Chitipi Mall, Lumbadzi Mall, Nathenje Turn-off Mall and Nalikule Turn-off Mall. Each of these shopping malls shall feature 23 shops, banks, concept houses, food courts, restaurants, coffee shops, a service station and curio shops. The malls promise to offer a brighter shopping experience for local residents and tourist visiting Lilongwe’s beauty on both sides of the city. Additionally, the project will also promote urban restructuring, sustainable communities, and environmental and economic sustainability.
Bus and truck lay-by and rest areas with toilet facilities shall be developed along the proposed project in consultation with stakeholders. Greenbelt will be developed on both sides of the highway. Compensatory afforestation and avenue plantation will be undertaken on both sides of the highway for landscape improvement and increasing the aesthetic quality.
Lilongwe is the capital and most populated city of the African country of Malawi. It has a population of 989,318 as of the 2018 Census, up from a population of 674,448 in 2008. In 2020 that figure was 1,122,000. The city’s population is increasing rapidly, with an annual growth rate of 4.3%.
The city is located in the central region of Malawi. It borders with Mozambique and Zambia, and it is an important economic and transportation hub for central Malawi. Disclaimer: The author is a Government Director of Information writing in his own capacity.