August 13, 2012
Tanzanians have hailed the government's plan to officially start projects to decongest traffic jams in Dar es Salaam, which according to a government study cost the country 4 billion shillings ($2.5 million) daily.
For the past 20 years, the government has debated expanding Dar es Salaam's road network and railway system, but finally approved a plan in July of this year.
The first phase of the project includes the construction of 29 bus stations and a 21-kilometre bus-only road from Kimara to Kivukoni in Dar es Salaam, to serve over 400,000 commuters, according to Cosmas Tekule, CEO of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport Agency.
The project will be divided into six phases and is projected to create 80,000 jobs, Tekule told Sabahi.
The first phase of construction -- from Kimara to the city centre -- will be completed by December, he said. Additional lanes will be added in subsequent phases to Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road, Kilwa Road, Nyerere Road, Mandela Road and Bagamoyo Road, which are the main roads entering the city centre. The entire project is expected to be finished by 2015, according to Tekule.
Once finalised, all small commuter buses, called "daladalas", will be phased out in the city centre and new buses capable of carrying 140 to 150 passengers will be introduced, Tekule said.
Abbas Malibiche, 46, a bus driver in Dar es Salaam, said although daladala drivers are set to lose their jobs with this new project, the congestion is intolerable right now.
"We are not making money nowadays. We burn fuel in endless queues. A distance of 20 kilometres takes three hours to travel … I think this [new project] is good for the economy," Malibiche told Sabahi.
Transportation Minister Harrison Mwakyembe told Sabahi that the idea to implement special lanes for buses in Dar es Salaam was first put forth in 1992 by President Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
"At the time, the traffic problem was not as big as the one we are facing now. President Mwinyi said Dar es Salaam was growing very fast and it needed a reliable transportation system," he told Sabahi.
He said the first phase will cost $274 million, funded by the Tanzanian government and the World Bank.
Mwakyembe said the ministry's project to turn a cargo railway into a commuter railway transport system in the capital will be finished by the end of September.
"The rehabilitation of the old railway system left by colonialists is under way and we have procured new wagons and locomotives," Mwakyembe told Sabahi. "We want to put to rest the traffic jam problem in Dar es Salaam that is costing the nation dearly."
Under the plan, city trains will run between Ubungo and the city centre, while a number of feeder roads will be paved to make them all-weather.
Juliet Antipas, 38, a Dar es Salaam resident, lauded the government's new project, saying it will help people get to work faster. "We lose a lot of time in the traffic jams that could be used to produce more and more," Antipas told Sabahi.
Minister for Works John Magufuli said the importance of the project cannot be overemphasised.
"Dar es Salaam contributes nearly 80% of the national income," Magufuli told Sabahi. "People are wasting a lot of time in the traffic jams. The latest study shows the jams cost the economy more than 4 billion Tanzanian shillings a day."
He said some workers spend four to six hours a day commuting to work.
Magufuli said the government's project includes the construction of flyover roads to cut time spent at traffic lights. The first flyover road will be built at the TAZARA junction where Nyerere Road-Airport Road and Mandela Road-Port Access Road meet.
This will cut traffic jams at peak hours from four hours to about 10 minutes and workers will be able to produce more in the saved time, Magufuli said.
Finnegan Kato, 51, an employee at the Dar es Salaam city council who lives in the suburb of Kibamba, said he is happy that the rapid-transport project has finally taken off.
"Imagine: I have to wake up at 4:30 am to prepare to get on the road by 5:15 am to travel hardly 30 kilometres from home to my work," Kako told Sabahi. "Normally, I spend 20 minutes on the road, but if I miss this slot and start my car at 6:00 am, with these 30 kilometres, I normally reach my office after 9:00 am."
"If there is something good done by the government, then it is this," he said.
Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto said African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces shoul...
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Thursday (May 16th) received credentials from the newly ap...
At least four people were killed and three injured Thursday (May 16th) when suspected al-Shabaab ...
Kenya and Tanzania carried out a joint border security operation Thursday (May 16th) after five p...
Pro-government Somali militia Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa member Artan Sheikhdon was killed after explos...
Three women were killed Thursday night (May 16th) in the Malkamau area of Mandera County in Kenya...
United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Thursday (May 16th) nominated former Kenyan Minister ...
Tanzania and Canada have signed a co-operation agreement designed to promote and create favourabl...
The Somali National Army killed 13 al-Shabaab militants Tuesday (May 14th), rebuffing an al-Shaba...
The deadline for Mandera residents to surrender illegal firearms has been extended to Friday (May...