The Chipembere Highway construction will not reach Illovo roundabout in Limbe as initially planned because the cost of the project has soared, Minister of Transport and Public Works Sidik Mia has said.

Speaking to journalists in Blantyre after inspecting the project, Mia said works on the road will only cover 2.7km, from Chichiri roundabout to Yiannakis roundabout in Limbe.

Initially the project was planned to cover over 4km, from the Chichiri roundabout to Illovo roundabout at the cost of about US $11 million.

Mia said the money is no longer enough to finish the whole project.

“The scope of work has been reduced due to escalating costs. As you know work stalled for a long time due to fuel, cement and forex shortage that was being experienced last year,” Mia said.

Roads Authority and Blantyre City Council officials said current estimations show that up to US$7 million will be spent on works from Chichiri roundabout to Yiannakis roundabout.

The balance, the officials said, would not be sufficient to cover the stretch from Yiannakis to Illovo because that is the most complicated stretch.

Japanese contractor Nippo Corporation is implementing the project.

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