New Electronic Weighbridge Vital

THE re-opening of the new electronic weighbridge in Kapiri Mposhi has more economic benefits than the anxiety its closure might have created when Government closed it to pave way for its rehabilitation which cost K31 million.

With the new electronic weighbridge, the Road Development Agency (RDA) will now be able to clear about 1, 000 vehicles per day as opposed to the 500 that were being cleared at the facility when it was still operating manually.

In its old form, the resultant traffic jam that was an ever present feature at the weighbridge was ever so irritating to motorists who more often than not would get delayed in Kapiri Mposhi even after covering the other distances in time.

The economic benefit that comes with the new bridge is that all heavy duty vehicles will be made to pay for using the Great North Road as well as ensure that only vehicles that weigh according to the recommended weight use the road.

It is also hoped that the proceeds from the weighbridge as well as the toll fees that will be collected from the toll gates when Government rolls them out on the major roads will help fund the rehabilitation of the roads.

The rationale behind the toll fees as well as the weighbridge is to make sure that the same roads should generate funds that will finance the routine maintenance of the country’s major gateways.

We, therefore, concur with Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga’s sentiments that the new weighbridge in Kapiri Mposhi will help reduce the damage that over weight vehicles have been causing to most of the roads.

It is our sincere hope, though, that the RDA officers who will be manning the weighbridge will not fall into the trap of being corrupted by a few motorists who always want to flout rules by overloading their vehicles and bribing the officers at the weighbridge so that their vehicles are not weighed.

This also goes to the need for vigilance by the officers at the weighbridge against some foreign truck drivers who use their Zambian escorts to flout regulations by showing the foreigners escape routes away from the weighbridge.

Added to that is the most common way of avoiding passing through the weighbridge which is perpetuated by the big passenger buses whose drivers engage Hiace mini bus colleagues to carry a few passengers from the bigger bus and ferry them from Kapiri town to the next lay-by

beyond the weighbridge.

Oblivious to the weighbridge operators is that while the bigger bus could be within the recommended weight at the weighbridge, it still gets overloaded after the passengers ferried across the weighbridge by the smaller bus return to the Marcopolo bus.

We would also recommend that similar weighbridges to the one that was commissioned in Kapiri are quickly erected in other parts of the country, especially on strategic highways linking Zambia to neighbouring countries.

We say so because what does it help the country if an overloaded truck enters the country and drives through a long stretch of our roads but only gets weighed in Kapiri with the possibility that some of the heavy load could have been hauled off the truck along the way?

It is also our hope that after the weighbridge in Kapiri, the expanding of the Great North Road into a dual carriageway will also start in earnest to avoid road accidents.

The sooner the RDA and the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications start putting up toll gates on the major roads the better so that the whole stretch of our roads where the heavy duty vehicles pass through get a share of the money for road maintenance.

While the establishment of toll fees is a new phenomenon in Zambia, it should be embraced by all well-meaning Zambians because we feel it is the only way funds will be readily available for the constant refurbishment of roads.

Road works should not always wait for money to be made available in the National Budget. We feel this is the reason most roads, especially in townships, have degenerated into impassable pathways riddled with potholes that have grown into near craters that now need huge budgetary allocations to be worked on.

Apart from ensuring that all heavy duty vehicles using the Great North Road are carrying the correct tonnage of loads, the weighbridge in Kapiri Mposhi which was rehabilitated by Sino-hydro Corporation is a spectacle that adds to the beauty of the Central Province town.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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