Coming soon to Bamako: a minibus ring and a busway

Lanes will be set aside for these mass transit modes in order to decrease congestion downtown.

Circulation ? Bamako : BIENT?T UN ANNEAU SOTRAMA ET UN COULOIR BUS. L. DIARRA, May 7, 2008.

The scene takes place in the area around the Finance Ministry. An argument breaks out between a driver and a motorcyclist. The two men come to blows after having exchanged harsh words. Police were forced to separate the two combatants. When a fight breaks out in the middle of traffic, the causes are not hard to guess. Lack of respect for the traffic rules brings about an angry reaction from others, and the gloves come off.

In a few months this kind of scene, today so common in the streets of the capital, should be just a bad memory for Bamakois. A new traffic plan named “Minibus Ring and Busway on the Boulevard du Peuple” is being prepared under the Transportation Sector Project Phase 2 (PST2). This ambitious project, which will be completed over the next four years, has a budget of 52.5 billion CFA francs [$114 million US], jointly financed by the World Bank and the government of Mali.

The plan was to the media by the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation last week in the conference room of DFA Communication. The press conference was led by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Hamed Diane S?m?ga, accompanied by National Highway Administrator Issa Assimi Diallo, Land, Sea and River Transportation Director Djibril Tall, and PST2 Project Coordinator Ti?moko Y?ro Kon?. Other notable attendees were the governor of the Bamako District, Ibrahima F?f? Kon? and representatives of unions and groups representing drivers and transportation companies.

The PST2 plan demonstrates the will of those in power to improve the transportation sector. It solidifies the common view that the government and the World Bank are coming to share with regards to the development of the transportation sector in our country. The PST2 will support the quality transportation services offered to rural and urban communities by improving key segments of the infrastructure.

The multifaceted approach of the PST2 brings in the agriculture, urban and rural development sectors. According to Minister S?m?ga, it has the potential to change the face of Bamako. “This project is dear to our hearts, given the frustration of traffic jams in the city,” he said. Some of the major avenues downtown will be rebuilt to accommodate demand. He indicated that the movement of private vehicles will be structured so as to limit its negative impact on quality of life.

According to the coordinator of the PST2, Ti?moko Y?ro Kon?, the project involves three major sections. Costing slightly more than two billion CFA francs [$4.3 million US], Section A will improve access to rural areas in order to promote rural development and agro-industrial activities.

Section B aims to develop part of the urban transportation system in Bamako in order to support urban activities and regional growth. Meanwhile, Section C targets all activities relative to logistical and institutional support for the completion of the project and the subsequent evaluation.

With more than six billion CFA francs [$13 million US], Section B will create a 1.2 kilometer exclusive bus corridor along the Boulevard du Peuple. The Sotrama minibuses will have access to a 3.8 kilometer ring that is already being presented on several informational signs around the capital. Sidewalks and passageways will be built to help pedestrians and minibus passengers reach the downtown area. Two overpasses will allow pedestrians to cross the main minibus routes.

The coordinator assured attendees that “There will be no demolitions, only improvements. In the worst case scenario, it will be public buildings affected. In all cases, the improvements will be made on existing corridors.” Land, Sea and River Transportation Director Djibril Tall explained that, “The goal we have in mind is the improvement of traffic in our capital. We have an obligation to show the drivers and transportation companies that the project is in no way designed to put anyone out of business.”

The department, in the context of its mission to extend its activities to other sectors, has begun to develop a set of complementary improvements for the 2008-2012 period that will involve road, rail, air and river transportation.

grvsmth (Author)

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