A LOCAL engineering consultancy firm, Zutari Lesotho (Pty) Ltd, has been awarded a M13 million contract to develop a masterplan for feeder roads and bridges to be constructed under the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP II).
In a statement this weekend, the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) said the feeder roads are intended to improve connectivity and access to villages that will be affected by the construction of the Polihali Dam.
Zutari is expected to start work this month.
“The LHDA has awarded Zutari Lesotho (previously Aurecon Lesotho (Pty) Ltd), the professional services contract for the development of the Master Plan for the Feeder Roads and Bridges under LHWP Phase II,” the LHDA said in its statement.
“The development of the master plan for the feeder roads and bridges is part of the process to determine the infrastructure required to support post – construction public mobility around and across the Polihali reservoir to be created under LHWP Phase II.
“It is one of the many initiatives implemented by the LHDA to mitigate the impact of Phase II. The bridges will provide a safe means of reservoir crossing and the linkage to the feeder roads,” the LHDA added.
Zutari will work with other local companies namely, Sechaba Consultants (Pty) Ltd, Morija Museum and Archives as well as one Dr Lerato Seleteng-Kose. It will also work with South African black-owned firms, ROMH Consulting and Leporogo Specialist Engineers CC who will come in as sub-consultants.
The LHDA said the construction of the dam would result in the displacement of at least 270 households from 10 villages in the Polihali area. It was therefore working with the specialist consultants to minimise the disruptions to people’s livelihoods, it said.
“The LHDA is sensitive to the impact of the project on the affected communities, as major infrastructure projects tend to be disruptive if not carefully planned and managed. Viable options will be prioritised based on the findings of the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) studies to be completed as part of the feeder roads master plan development process. Lessons were learnt from Phase I regarding the mobility of communities around the reservoir.
“A large number of households from other villages in the project area will not be affected by relocation but the reservoir inundation will lead to loss of access or connection to markets and essential services, hence the need for the study to determine potential impacts and develop a master plan for the feeder roads and bridges that will mitigate the impacts.
“Stakeholder engagement is crucial for the successful execution of the contract and the consultant will engage with affected communities, local community leaders, district authorities and the Polihali reservoir resettlement consultant and other interested and affected parties to identify the communities’ access requirements during construction and after reservoir inundation,” the LHDA said.