The completion of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) overpass in Dar es Salaam comes as a relief to motorists, who previously had to endure many hours in traffic.
Constructed at the junction of the busy Mandela Expressway and Julius Nyerere Road in the commercial capital, the flyover — funded by the government of Japan through the Japan International Co-operation Agency (Jica) — is expected to be officially inaugurated by President John Magufuli in October, according to government spokesperson Hassan Abbas.
During peak hours, motorists using the road would wait for hours due to traffic congestion at the busy junction, which is a key link from the central business district to the airport, the Dar es Salaam port and densely populated residential areas.
Construction of the flyover started in October 2016 at an estimated cost of $45 million.
The road, which is expected to eventually reduce traffic jams by 80 per cent, consists of four lanes and a 425-metre bridge. It is also expected to increase productivity by reducing the time people spend on the road.
During a recent inspection tour of the flyover, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said construction of the Tazara flyover has factored in the need for a rapid bus transit project to Gongo la Mboto from the city centre.
He said the contractor has set aside enough space and the Dar project will kick off soon.
In the run up to the official opening, motorists were allowed to use the flyover starting on September 15. The Tanzania National Roads Agency and Japanese Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co Ltd signed a contract on October 15, 2015, for the construction of the flyover under a grant-in-aid.
Construction started in April 2016, with President Magufuli saying the project aimed to decongest Dar es Salaam.
The completion of the first flyover in Tanzania has paved the way for other flyovers.
There is the Ubungo interchange, under the Dar es Salaam Urban Transport Improvement Project, supported by a $225 million concessional credit from the International Development Association.
There are six flyovers in total planned for construction in Dar es Salaam according to executive director of the Tanzania Roads Agency Patrick Mfugale.