TICA, MOZAMBIQUE, July 11 –Mozambican President Armando Guebuza has officiated the start of renovation work of the EN6 road between the Indian Ocean port of Beira and the town of Machipanda on the country’s border with Zimbabwe.

The ceremony took place in Tica Thursday, the second day of Guebuza’s “Open and inclusive presidency” visit to the central province of Sofala,

The Mozambican government will spend 410 million US dollars on the full rehabilitation of the 287-kilometre-long road, using a loan from the Chinese Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank).

The work, which is due to be completed in the second half of 2017, will see the road being substantially widened, the building of 1.7 kilometres of bridges, 900 metres of culverts, fifteen intersections, two weighbridges and six police control posts.

Toll stations will be erected along the route at Chimoio, Nhamatanda and Dondo. Currently, the only major road in the country with toll gates is the Maputo-South Africa Motorway, operated by the South African infrastructure company, Trans-Africa Concessions (TRAC).

The Chinese Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group (AFECC) is building three workyards along the route of the EN6 and mobilising the necessary machinery.

The National Road Administration (ANE) has appointed Shenyang Engineering Supervision and Consultation to supervise the work.

Hundreds of people witnessed the ceremony to launch the project, during which President Guebuza hailed the current level of co-operation between Mozambique and China. He called on the local population to look after the roadworks because the current road cannot meet their needs for transporting people and goods, resulting in a loss of income for families along the road.

The road will also expand the hinterland of Beira port into Malawi and Zambia, both landlocked countries, like Zimbabwe. Beira port serves as an important gateway for these countries’ exports and imports.