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Hello spaghetti, bye bye traffic circles

It is true. Francistown, the country’s second city will be making history in two intertwined and related areas soon.Neither the locals nor the officials of various government departments, companies, parastatals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) resident in this city know this, until now.

Francistown will become the first ever city in the country to be free from traffic circles and will immediately enter the history books as the first to ever have an interchange, commonly referred to as ‘spaghetti junction’ in street lingo.

The three traffic circles the city once had have been overcome and overwhelmed by developments, which saw the first traffic circle near Central Police Station make way a few years ago to traffic lights.

Now the much hyped multi-million, in fact it is a billion Pula Tonota-Francistown dual carriage way being constructed by the China Railway Seventh Group, has left the last two traffic circles literally bulldozed from its way.

The two traffic circles, now deceased, were located near Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) offices and Shell Filling Station and surprisingly it was known as the BMC circle.

In fact, how it came to be known as such, buffles the mind. The BMC abbatoir, which the BMC circle referred to, is not even a stone throw away. It is far away on the western side of the road, near the railway line crossway which leads to Gerald.

The other traffic circle was in the middle of the city, next to Cresta Thapama Lodge, Bank of Botswana, Francistown High Court and Metcourt Inn. This one was known as the Thapama circle, another mind boggling moniker.

Maybe the traffic circle was built at the time when the nearest building was Cresta Thapama, the same could also be possible with the BMC circle. The nearest building got the naming rights it appears.

With the traffic circles out of the way, Francistown residents are wondering what sort of a monster the ‘spaghetti junction’ will look like.

At one point, the construction company responsible for this mega road, China Railway Seventh Group, set up an artist impression of how the final product will look like. It was an instant hit with passersby and residents alike, who could not wait for the moment to snap many shots using all sorts of cameras besides the board of the artist impression.

The urge to update their social networks with the ‘selfies,’ another street lingo understood by the social network connoisseurs or aficionados was insurmountable. Day after day, week after week, they came, snapped pictures and left. The completed interchange would definitely become an instant tourism attraction if the interest described above is to be used as a yardstick.

While the main ‘spaghetti junction’ is still in its infancy stages, with sneak peeps inside the construction boundaries not revealing much, talk about town is that the temporary access roads are now jokingly, the ‘spaghetti.’

Traffic at peak hours is just too much at this area around the interchange site and local taxi operators rue the moment passengers would want to pass through the area as it would mean delaying.

For the passengers, many might not have been using the access road for a while and the urge to see progress made at the interchange site might be immense and an opportunity worth not missing.

After all, it is impossible to go to the bus rank located in the middle of the Central Business District (CBD) without having to pass the interchange site, so the traffic will be there until the real ‘spaghetti’ is unveiled and opened to the public having been experienced, especially with the relocation of various services and others.

Pipe bursts, some residents were reluctant to move and rains delayed construction, but the spirit of the locals to be able to have a first in their city is high and so they wait patiently.

In some radio call in programmes, some are already saying Francistown should be renamed Spaghetti City, and it appears unofficially it shall be amongst some residents.
With the city’s ambitious Vision 2022 which intends to make Francistown a vibrant city that would attract investors, infrastructure tourism could just be another addition to the city’s attractions.

The state of the art new Francistown Sports Complex already is the talk of the country not the town, with the national football team, the Zebras having adopted it as its home ground where it has not lost a single match since it started using it.

beMOBILE Premiership teams are also cashing in on the satisfying football attendance by football fans and supporters, using the stadium at every given opportunity to host their matches.

The spaghetti junction would add to the beauty, splendor and magnificence of the city and it would be an investment worth snapping a picture besides for many local and international tourists.

What the traffic circles failed to bring in order to hype the city up in the past and possibly reduce traffic congestions would definitely be made up for by the interchange. Yes, it is true. It is bye bye traffic circles, hello spaghetti. BOPA

Source : BOPA

Author : Kesentse Ketumile

Location : Francistown

Event : Interview

Date : Jan 25 Mon,2016

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