FRANCISTOWN: Businesses trading along Francistown A1 road are set for a bleak five month period because of the impending closure of the Francistown/Tonota road.
The road which is the entry to the second city should have been closed in November this year but was moved forward to next year January until May after taking into consideration the festive period. Dr Ebenezer Archer, project consultant at Pula Consultants revealed last week at a stakeholder consultative meeting that most of the businesses in the vicinity are going to be affected by the closure and called on them to prepare for loss of business. Dr Archer said while they tried to bring other mitigating factors like alternative routes business are still going to be affected considering that delivery and travel time is going to increase and movement of heavy vehicles is going to be limited. The Consultant urged the affected businesses to come up with strategies of maintaining their clients and businesses. “A detour will be put up as a mitigating factor but it will not be enough as it will still be difficult to access some businesses,” Archer said.
Some concerned enterprises proposed a supply of sign boards by the Department of Roads for affected premise but North East Chief Roads Engineer Letlhogela Radipata dismissed the suggestion saying it would be expensive. “We can only contemplate putting one sign board which will indicate all affected business. Providing every affected business with sign board would be expensive,” said Radipata adding that though the construction will affect the business once the project finishes it will bring positive and permanent results. “Five months closure should not be a great concern because it is only temporary,” emphasized Radipata.
The business that lies along the A1 to be closed include among others lodges, Car dealers, Filling stations, supplies companies and different manufacturing companies.