MAPUTO — Twenty years later, Maria Vicente can still clearly remember how she greatly admired the development of Beijing when she first set her feet on the Chinese capital, to join the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.
“The city is very beautiful, with neat and wide roads and convenient transport,” recalled Vicente, who is currently the administrator of the Marracuene District of Maputo province of Mozambique.
But until five years ago, her district was full of muddy roads and sewers, with nearly no fundamental facilities around.
All began to change thanks to the Maputo Ring Road Project, which is currently constructed by a Chinese company since 2012, and as the northernmost area of the project, the district’s infrastructure progressed to improvement with newly built roads and a new Marracuene bridge across the Incomati River, that runs through the district on its course into the Indian Ocean, both undertaken by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
Marracuene District locates besides the country’s only north and south bound highway N1, and connects the N1 with the eastern section of the new Maputo Ring Road.
The district had been serving as a popular tourist attraction in Mozambique’s colonial era, for its 21-mile radiant beach along the eastern coast of the Indian Ocean.
For the moment, the traffic solution to cross the Incomati River is by a ferryboat on its extended active duty.
“Although the ferry is a solution, it has a lot of risks. With the bridge, traffic will be more secure and efficient. The bridge could also help solve the problems of the transportation of agricultural products from the other side of the river, especially in rainy days, thus reducing or even avoiding our agricultural losses,” said Vicente.
The Marracuene Bridge, which has been in construction since 2014, is one of the nine bridges in the ring road project and is being built right next to the current ferry dock.
Filho Majate, a local car shop painter, always like to take his five-year-old girl to the crossing to play after work. He told Xinhua that although he heard of the beautiful beaches across the river, he had never been to the other side, since “the ferry is insecure”.
“Once the bridge constructed, I want to drive my whole family there, to see the view,” he said.
For the main city part, with the newly built roads, the Marracuene District starts to shine by expansion and renovation, a new hospital and a new school have been settled, and even the country’s biggest bank has made its branch here already.
“I witnessed the whole construction process (of the new roads built by the Chinese company), tiding up the dirt layer underneath the old ruin, laying new soil ... The new solidly built roads, are all equipped with nice drainage facilities. It’s of great quality, and should last long,” said Vicente.
Nowadays, the Marracuene District has become a small neat and tidy town. “The improvement of transportation has largely energized the surrounding area, and we begin to get rid of poverty and backwardness,” said Vicente.
In fact, the Maputo Ring road not only help solve the traffic problems on the busiest highway N1 and around the capital city Maputo, it also motivates the urbanization of the outskirts of Maputo city and parts of the Maputo province, by laying the foundation for development with the new roads.
This kind of “driving”, as Vicente pointed out, is increasingly becoming a desirable help many Mozambican local leaders would like.