Design of the Rehabilitation and Periodic Maintenance of the M1 Karonga to Songwe Road in Malawi


Civil Design Solutions (CDS) was contracted by Roughton International to assist with the design of the rehabilitation and widening of the Karonga to Songwe Road in northern Malawi.


On site with Roughton team in Karonga

The existing road between Karonga and Songwe was constructed between April 1987 and April 1990. It provides an important link in the regional north-south corridor, connecting the port of Dar es Salaam with the Malawi economic centres of Lilongwe and Blantyre as well as the agriculturally productive region of eastern Zambia. The road provides access for local communities who are engaged in intensive rice cultivation along the road.

The first half of the road from Karonga is on an embankment following the lake shore across the flat alluvial plains.  The second half of the road leaves the alluvial plains and enters rolling terrain at the edge of the rift valley, ending at the Tanzania Border Post on the Songwe River.

The existing road was mainly in fair condition but surfacing failures had resulted in ingress of water and some rutting in the outer wheel path. Strengthening of the pavement was necessary to cater for the increasing number of articulated trucks using the road, and widening of the road was necessary to accommodate the high flows of non-motorised road users, in particular pedestrians and cyclists in the trading centres.

CDS inputs to the project included:

  • Management of a team of experts providing inputs to the design process.
  • Site visits to assess local conditions, traffic levels, availability of construction materials, etc.
  • Oversight of testing of the existing pavement including FWD, DCP and test pits.
  • Preparation of the Design Report.
  • Preparation of bidding documents.

The design contract was completed in 2016.