By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) has recently awarded the contracts for the construction of two bridges to the tune of just over half a billion.

This the Authority has published in a statement issued last week.

“The LHDA completed the construction procurement for the remaining two major bridges to be built under Phase II in late August, awarding the M511 500 000.00 contract to the Concor-Nthane Brothers M&K Bridges joint Venture,” reads the LHDA’s statement.

According to LHDA, the work on the contract commenced on August 29 and the two bridges across Mabunyaneng and Khubelu rivers are scheduled for completion by October 2025.

This joint venture that is undertaking this multi-million construction work consist of local and international companies.

The joint venture’s main partners are Concor Construction (Pty) Ltd based in South Africa (SA) and Nthane Brothers (Pty) Ltd, a local construction company, and had sub-contracted the SA’s Post Tensioning and Structural Solutions (Pty) Ltd and the local company, Bridge Joints and Rehabilitation Contractors (Pty) Ltd.

When complete, the three major bridges are envisaged to provide access to Mokhotlong town across the reservoir even at full supply as well as ensure connectivity to the national road network along the A1 being the main road between Mokhotlong and Maseru.

The Polihali’s Branch Manager, Gerard Mokone said: “The impounding of the Polihali reservoir will submerge the existing roads and tracks, affecting communities in the valleys and tributary catchments of the Senqu, Khubelu, Mokhotlong, Moremoholo and Sehonghong rivers.

“The major bridges along with a network of feeder roads and main access roads to the Project area all contribute towards [minimizing] this disruption and help to restore community access to healthcare facilities, schools, shops and markets.”

The LHDA reports that Khubelu Bridge will be approximately 270 meters long with nine 30m spans and two abutments. On the other hand, Mabunyaneng Bridge which is smallest of the three major bridges will be approximately 120m in length and has four 30m spans and two abutments. Both of these bridges will be 13.55m wide.

Phase II Divisional Manager, Ntsoli Maiketso is reported to have said “the trio bridges will not only form part of the safe and efficient road infrastructure network constructed under Phase II but will be a major tourist attraction contributing to long term benefits in stimulating sustainable economic growth”.

Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) comprises the construction of Polihali Dam, the 38km Polihali Transfer Tunnel, the associated infrastructure and a hydropower scheme at Oxbow. It expanded upon the successful completion of Phase I in 2003.

LHDA is an implementing agency of the LHWP.