Road Decongestion Programme and Light Rail Transit System Project deemed complementary in solving traffic congestion problem
The Light Rail Transit Project as the ultimate alternative mode of transport which would be complementary to the Road Decongestion Programme in solving the problem of traffic congestion was the gist of the reply of the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, to the Private Notice Question on the Light Rail Transit Project at the National Assembly this morning.
A road transport system with an integrated three tier structure to provide greater mobility and fluidity in the transport system for the next 30 years is what the Government envisions, according to the Minister. “What exists actually will form the first level, the Road Decongestion Programme will be the second level and the Light Rail Transit will represent the third level,” averred Mr Bodha, highlighting that at all times the Road Decongestion Programme has taken into account the alignment of the Light Rail Transit.
The Minister thus explained that the Road Decongestion Programme on its own would not have solved the problem of traffic congestion. “While the Road Decongestion Programme will ease fluidity of movement of vehicles, the Light Rail Transit will ensure mobility of people and facilitate the access to jobs and other activities,” he stated.
Regarding the Light Rail Transit, Mr Bodha announced that a delegation from Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, which was engaged in 2012 to undertake the Feasibility Study and Project Implementation Planning for the Mauritius Light Rapid Transit system, is in the country to start preliminary discussions for the production of an update of their previous studies. Minister Bodha underlined that no new feasibility study is envisaged for the project in view of the significant work already done by Singapore Cooperation Enterprise and the sum paid in consequence, that is Rs 539, 226,992.
The Minister also briefed the house on developments concerning the Road Decongestion Programme, one of the most important road infrastructure projects ever embarked by any Government with a view of laying the foundation of a modern Mauritius and helping to alleviate the road traffic congestion problem, which is being aggravated with the increasing number of vehicles.
“Following a request to the Korean State for a technical and financial audit of the Road Decongestion Programme,” said Mr Bodha, “a Korean team of consulting and engineering firms conducted a complete technical and financial assessment for which the final report was submitted in April 2016.” He added that necessary procedures were initiated in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act to consider the implementation of the Programme under a government-to-government agreement, and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Road Development Authority and the Korea Expressway Corporation on 5 April 2016.
The Minister spoke of the due diligence exercise effectuated on the proposal of the Korean Team to ensure that Government is obtaining value for money, and the resultants submitted to the High Powered Committee set up under the chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service. “The report of the High Powered Committee will be submitted to Government for consideration,” pointed out Mr Bodha.
Stressing that the Road Decongestion Programme will not be amended to accommodate the Light Rail Transit, the Minister remarked that in view of the different alignments of the two projects, it is proposed to study the best way to integrate the transport system along the two alignments. “It is more appropriate to see how to integrate from the Town and Country Planning perspective the two projects to see to it that the projects be implemented efficiently and that they are financially viable if Government decide to go on with the Light Rail Transit Project,” affirmed Mr Bodha.