Chinese-built interchange in Tanzania’s business capital offers relief to motorists
DAR ES SALAAM,
A Chinese-built interchange in Tanzania's business capital Dar es Salaam partially opened to public about a fortnight ago, offering relief to motorists in the country's largest city.
The Ubungo interchange, mainly consisting of a 17.5-meter three level interchange and service roads, is the biggest project of its kind in the country being constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
It is expected to greatly reduce traffic congestion at the busy Ubungo junction with more than 60,000 vehicles passing daily upon completion in December.
Ubungo is a district in the northwest of Dar es Salaam, which hosts the country's largest university, the largest indoor shopping mall and a major bus terminal. And the junction where the interchange sits serves as a key gateway of the city with a population of about six million.
"Before the construction of the interchange, the junction was a thorn in the flesh to both motorists and passengers," said Azim Dewji, chairman of Simba Logistics Limited, a transportation firm ferrying goods between Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
Dewji said drivers used to be stuck in traffic jam for quite a long time before they crossed through the area but now they pass through the junction in the blink of an eye.
"The heavy traffic jam experienced at the Ubungo junction was a headache for motorists and passengers," Dewji told Xinhua in an interview, giving an example that if 500 trucks spent two hours each in the traffic jam it meant there were 1,000 lost hours.
Mustapha Mwalongo, communications director for Tanzania Bus Owners Association, said the construction of the Ubungo interchange has added to the business capital's infrastructural landmarks.
"The traffic jams made passengers arriving from upcountry to feel tired as they waited for hours to pass through the Ubungo junction. But nowadays they hardly spend a quarter an hour before they are through," says Mwalongo.
The foundation stone for the construction of the interchange was jointly laid in March 2017 by Tanzanian President Magufuli and the then World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
Magufuli said the project was part of his government's resolve to carry out projects which address problems facing Tanzanians.
Godrich Mshana, CCECC's quality assurance and control engineer told Xinhua that 80 percent of the project has already been completed.
"Contractually this project is supposed to be completed by the end of December this year, but we are trying at our level best to complete even before the end of this year. This is our target," said the engineer, adding that the project currently employs more than 800 locals.
Mshana said Tanzanian engineers and trainees working on the project also benefited from the technical know-how provided by their Chinese colleagues.
"At the moment we have 40 trainee engineers from various universities in the country who are on a three-month training program at the project," said Mshana.(Xinhua)