Ng’ona River Bridge in Kawambwa district has been washed away following heavy rains being experienced in the area.
The District has since been cut off from being accessed from Mwansabombwe and Nchelenge Districts.
Kawambwa District Council Chairperson Kalumba Chifumbe told ZANIS in Mansa yesterday that the bridge which is on the Kawambwa – Mbereshi road was swept away yesterday morning due to flooding leaving motorists and other road users stranded.
Mr. Chifumbe said the bridge which was constructed in the early 1980s collapsed due to heavy downpours that have been experienced in the area and lack of periodic maintenance.
He said the bridge could not withstand the amount of water pressure which passed through the culverts leading to its collapse and subsequent washing away.
Mr. Chifumbe has however called on the people of Kawambwa not to panic as the district can also be accessed using the newly constructed Kawambwa – Mushota – Luwingu road and the old Mansa – Mung’anga – Kawambwa road.
He has advised people travelling from outside the district using both public and private transport to use the said roads.
Mr. Chifumbe said the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development has assured him that engineers will be moving in to put temporal measures to make the road passable.
And Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela has revealed that engineers from the Road Development Agency Luapula regional office have been dispatched to check the washed away Ng’ona River Bridge.
Mr Chitotela said Kawambwa like other parts of Luapula Province has been experiencing heavy downpours leading to the swelling of many rivers due to flooding.
He explained that the corroded culverts under the bridge could not withstand the huge of volume of water violently passing through them.
“I wish to appeal to our people not to panic as government is doing everything possible to replace the washed away bridge. As you may know, the Ng’ona river bridge connects Kawambwa to Nchelenge and Mwansabombwe districts; so it’s an important bridge,” Mr Chitotela said.
He said government is looking at possibilities of using berry bridges as a temporal measure to allow traffic and movement of people to resume.
Mr Chitotela however said people wishing to travel to Kawambwa should use either the Kawambwa – Luwingu – Mushota Road (from Mansa) or the Nchelenge – Kampampi – Mulwe Road (from Mwansabombwe or Nchelenge).
“We are working hard to ensure that we restore the damaged infrastructure in the quickest possible time,” he said.