The 81.7 km Chikwawa – Ngabu – Bangula Road is a section of the main backbone road designated as M1 which traverses across Malawi from Karonga in the Northern region of Malawi to Marka in Nsanje in the south.
As a section of the main road, and its significance to the economy, the Malawi Government identified funds to rehabilitate and reconstruct the road.
The rehabilitation has been executed in two phases namely;
- Phase 1 which involved rehabilitation of Chikhwawa to Ngabu – 46km, road section was funded by European Union.
- Phase 2 which involved construction of Ngabu to Bangula – 35km, road section was funded by the Malawi Government
The road has a 6.7m double chip seal surfaced carriageway and 1.5m single chip seal surface shoulder on either side. The pavement construction comprises the first layer of 150mm earthworks using material from nearby borrow pits. On top of this layer there is a 200mm thick gravel sub base layer compacted in equal layers. In order to improve the strength further a final strong and best quality layer (base), 200mm thick graded crushed stone has been constructed. The surface type is double chip seal comprising 20mm followed by 10mm stone chippings. There are also several culverts that have been constructed on the project. Furthermore the road has been significantly raised so that it remains above flood waters during the rainy season and to ensure that it is passable all the time.
This type of construction follows the Southern Africa Transport Communication Commission (SATCC) standard specifications.
The major works on this project comprised of the following:
- Rehabilitation of 81.74km of road from Chikwawa to Bangula Trading Centre to bitumen class 1 standard with sealed shoulder
- Construction of a total of 50 culverts; including circular and box culverts.
- Construction of about 300,000m3 of fill to raise the road.
The rehabilitation of the Chikhwawa to Bangula road will ease mobility and accessibility to markets for goods within Malawi and outside Malawi through Nsanje District into Mozambique. It has potential to be one of the country’s major external routes to the Mozambique port of Beira and also to serve as a SADC Regional Route (RR). This will be on top of the service to people of Chikwawa and Nsanje who will now experience better travel and be able to take their agricultural produce to Blantyre and other towns and bring in some things from other areas thereby improving their lives.
The road project was done by Mota Engil Engeneria for a contract period of 2 years.