Traffic jams in Dar es Salaam are increasingly costing the nation billions of shillings even as the city’s Bus Rapid Transit project nears completion. For city dwellers, spending five hours on the city’s narrow roads, negotiating traffic, has become normal. But economically the situation bites the nation hard, with delays in delivery of cargo from upcountry and neighbouring countries affecting business.
To curb the situation, the government through the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads), is building flyovers at main junctions and in January began building a 46.2-kilometer network of feeder roads in Dar.
Outspoken Dar es Salaam legislator, John Mnyika said the feeder roads will help make life easier for Dar es Salaam residents. “We have been advising the government to take such measures for a long time, he said. “I am glad to see these projects being implemented.”
The government has allocated $31 million for the project, said Patrick Mfugale, Tanroads Executive Officer.
Mfugale said fighting traffic congestion in the city needs cooperation from the government and residents. “I am asking the government to continue allocating funds for road construction projects. This will help to open up the city and decrease congestion,” he said.
Dr John Magufuli, Minister for Works, said the 46.2-kilometre road network were meant to reduce traffic congestion and make movement easier in the city. He explained that among the feeder roads being built, there is a 1.6-kilometre road from Kigogo to Tabata Dampo, and a road linking Kimara, Baruti, Msewe and the University of Dar es Salaam that will cover 2.6 kilometres.
Other roads on the list include the 8-kilometre road from External via Kilungure to Kimara Korogwe and a 20-kilometre road from Mbezi Mwisho via Goba, Wazo Hill to Tangi Bovu. Dr Magufuli said another 14-kilometre road will start from Kinyerezi via Kifuru to Mbezi Mwisho.
The Mbezi Mwisho-Tangi Bovu road will connect the Bagamoyo road with Morogoro road upon its completion, according to Minister Magufuli. “These two roads have been experiencing major traffic congestion, we hope this alternative road will solve the problem,” he said.
The Kinyerezi-Mbezi Mwisho road will connect Nyerere and Morogoro roads and thus ease congestion on the two major highways.
Some commuter bus, or ‘daladala’, drivers who spoke to UrbanAfrica.Net said the feeder roads could be one of the solutions for traffic congestion in the city.
Many private cars will opt to use feeder roads and only big vehicles and commuter buses will remain on the main roads, said Kondo Athuman, whose commuter bus plies the Mbezi Mwisho-Posta route. “This will help to reduce congestion because many of private cars will be using these shortcuts. Big vehicles and daladala will remain in the main roads, and thus it is obvious there will be no more congestion,” he said.
Dennis Kamote, whose daladala plies the Ubungo to Gongo la Mboto route, said feeder roads will reduce the number of vehicles at traffic lights. “With these feeder roads, it is obvious many people will evade using main roads, so there will be few vehicles at junctions, and thus this will easy crossing from one side to another,” he said.
To support the central government’s efforts, the Kinondoni municipal council, has announced tender for the maintenance of various roads and construction of box culverts, which are used to raise roads, in the municipality, according to the Municipal Director, Engineer Mussa Natty. His office has received cash from the Road Fund basket for this, he said.
Along with the feeder road network, the government is implementing a major Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project and introducing commuter train services. It also purchased a 300-passenger ferry from Bangladesh at a cost of $4.4 million to help ease traffic congestion along Bagamoyo Road.
Florence Mugarula is an editor for the The Citizen newspaper in Tanzania. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (BAJ-Hons) from the University of Dar es Salaam. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Mass Communication at the University of Dar es Salaam. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main photo: The External – Kimara Korogwe road is under construction in Dar es Salaam. Florence Mugarula.Read older posts from this section