Left to right: ReCAP Representative Henry Kwanga, RDA Director & CEO Eng. Elias Mwape, RDA Board Vice Chairperson Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga, Housing and Infrastructure Development (MHID) Minister Hon. Vincent Mwale and Acting MHID Permanent Secretary Mr. Danny Mfune.

Government through the Road Development Agency (RDA) has developed pavement and geometric design and road safety manuals for Low Volume Roads in urban and rural areas to help reduce the cost of constructing roads in Zambia.

Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Hon. Vincent Mwale says this was in line with the Government’s long-term strategic policies to help reduce the cost of constructing roads in the country.

“Currently, rural and urban roads are designed using standards for high volume roads, such as the Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATCC) standards. Considering the fact that low volume roads carry low levels of traffic and are rarely overloaded; these types of roads should be constructed with appropriate designs whilst maintaining the value for money,” Hon. Mwale said.

The Minister was speaking at Government Complex today when he officially launched the Low Volume Roads manuals for rural and urban roads in Zambia.

The Low Volume Roads manuals comprise: the pavement design manuals; and the geometric design and road safety manuals.

 Hon. Mwale said the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the RDA, obtained financial and technical assistance from the Africa Community Access Programme (AfCAP) for the development of these manuals.

Hon. Mwale said the adoption and use of the manuals would greatly help in providing sustainable road construction approaches at minimal life cycle costs and at the same time meeting the road safety needs of all road users.

“The adoption and use of these manuals will result in improved road features to minimise road accidents such as walkways and cycle lanes and appropriate signage and drainage. The other benefits that will be derived from the use of these manuals include: minimum adverse environmental impacts particularly with the use of non-renewable resources (gravel),” he said.

DFID Representative Magdalena Leisten, RDA Board Vice Chairperson Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga and  Housing and Infrastructure Development (MHID) Minister Hon. Vincent Mwale during the launch of the manuals for Low Volume Roads in urban and rural areas.

Other benefits include increased employment opportunities through the use of appropriate technology comprising the use of labour based methods and taking better account of stakeholder needs particularly those of local communities.

The move would also facilitate long-term goal of socio-economic growth, development and poverty alleviation in Zambia.

Hon. Mwale said the manuals would also provide all practitioners with comprehensive guidance on the wide range of factors that need to be addressed in a holistic and environmentally sustainable manner when undertaking the geometric design of rural roads or urban roads and streets.

 Hon. Mwale said the manuals take account of “best practice” developments in low volume roads technology that have evolved both regionally and internationally in the past few decades.

 “Furthermore, these manuals will ensure that a consistent and harmonised approach is followed in the design of low volume roads in the country,” he said.

 The AfCAP is a programme of research and knowledge dissemination funded by the United Kingdom (UK) Government through the Department for International Development (DFID). AfCAP is promoting safe and sustainable rural access in Africa through research and knowledge sharing between participating countries and the wider community.

This initiative, which falls under the Research for Community Access Partnership (RECAP) umbrella, aims to build on the programme of high-quality research and take this forward to a sustainable future in which the results of research are adopted in practice and influence future policy.

Government through RDA approached AfCAP in 2017 to fund the development of pavement and geometric design and road safety manuals for low volume roads.

 AfCAP on 15th august 2017 engaged Messrs. Infra Africa Development consultants to develop pavement and geometric design and road safety manuals for low volume roads (both rural and urban) at a total cost of £149,709.00. The assignment was completed in November 2019.

Hon. Mwale said the launch of the Low Volume Roads manuals was a testimony that Government had not left the rural population out of its development agenda.

Hon. Mwale said the Government was now looking forward to continued engagement with AfCAP and other development partners in supporting such initiatives in order to continue improving the livelihoods of all its people in both rural and urban areas.

“Government will continue encouraging innovations, research and development activities aimed at developing new products, processes, technologies and cost-effective solutions to the numerous challenges faced by this country,” he said.

 this is indeed a joyous moment for us at the road development agency (rda) as the institution continues with its mammoth mandate as enshrined in the public roads act of 2002 of providing for the care, maintenance and construction of public roads in Zambia.