By CHISHALA MUSONDA and CECILIA NAYAME
A CHINESE contractor, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group (AFECC), has appealed to Government to urgently construct access roads to the sports arena currently being built in Ndola before works are completed.
AFECC vice-president Cheng Ju reiterated his appeal in Ndola on February 15 that Government needs to construct the two access routes to the giant sports structure as his organisation is almost done with the construction works on the project.
Speaking through an interpreter at the construction site, Chen said 80 percent of the works have been completed and the infrastructure could be handed to Government before the scheduled date in October as stipulated in the contract.
“Our appeal to Government is to speed up works on the construction of access roads which are beyond the perimeter of the stadium construction site as this is not in the contract that we signed.
“Access roads to be constructed by the Zambian government have not yet been done,” he said.
The government has to build two roads – one on the eastern side of the infrastructure and another on the north, parallel to the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriageway for easy access to and from the stadium once it is complete.
Construction works of the roads have not begun although access routes are shown on the artistic impression plan of this mega structure.
Chen said AFECC was well ahead of schedule on the construction but some works have stalled because of the prevailing rainy conditions.
But workers are still working on the eastern wing canopy.
He stated that some major works should resume in May when the rainy season is over but the company is on schedule to complete working on the infrastructure by September.
Chen said during President Banda’s visit to the stadium, the head of State urged the contractor to complete the works in good time for the nation to be able to host international matches for the Chipolopolo.
The President said Government was considering inviting one African football powerhouse for the inauguration ceremony of the sports arena.
Following the presidential request, Chen said the handover could be before September.
“We are doing our best during this rainy season and have adjusted our working programme and the working times,” he said.
The key feature of the stadium resuming works in May is the mounting of the 40,100 spectators seats which Cheng said will be fitted systematically from one section to another.