Sustainable Agriculture Kigoma Region Project (SAKiRP) has a successful
component “access to agricultural commodity markets”. The construction of stone
arch bridges contributes to this component by facilitating the transportation
of agricultural produce and thus reducing the cost of transportation for
Stone arches are a strong and time-tested technology that fits with the local economic reality of expensive industrial materials as opposed to a low labour cost.
Due to the elimination of all industrial materials except for cement and thanks to the support of the villages, a stone arch bridge can be built at a cost of only 15 to 20% of an equivalent concrete bridge.
At the same time, a stone arch bridge emits 50 to 80% less carbon dioxide than an equivalent concrete bridge.
The lower cost reduces the strain on the national infrastructure budget and reinforces the local governments’ autonomy, allowing them to upgrade 10 river crossings with an average district budget rather than 1 crossing in the case of concrete bridge technology.
The Tanzanian Rural Roads Agency (TARURA) is an enthusiastic partner of SAKiRP and aims to incorporate the stone arch bridge technology in their organization for future implementation.
On the other hand, the involvement of the villages ensures that bridges are only built where there is a real demand.
Once the bridge is finished, the same villages will take more care of the bridge they helped building than in the case where an external contractor executed the construction.
After a one-year start-up period, SAKIRP has completed 17 bridges and 18 more are under construction. The scale-up of the construction effort will see 70 bridges completed by the end of the project.