PLANS to decorate and decongest Dar es Salaam city received fresh impetus yesterday, with the contract for construction of the modern Selander Bridge Flyover signed.

The government signed the deal with South Korean GS Engineering & Construction Co Ltd for execution of the three-year project.

President John Magufuli and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon witnessed the agreement signing between Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) and the contractor at the State House in Dar es Salaam.

Dr Magufuli said the 250bn/- project, besides addressing chronic traffic jams on the old Selander Bridge, it will also beautify the city.

The president said he has trust on the Korean company, which also constructed the Kikwete Bridge on Malagarasi River in Kigoma region. “The Selander Bridge will be a good symbol of good relationship with South Korea,” he said.

The bridge will cover 6.23 kilometres from Coco Beach area to Aga Khan Hospital, with 1.03-kilometre stretch passing over the Indian Ocean.

During his official talks with Mr Lee, Dr Magufuli said the South Korean Prime Minister assured him of working on his plea to get soft loan from the Exim Bank to finance the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) once the project enters the second and third phases.

The government has already started implementing the first phase of the project, which includes construction of the railroad from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora in Dodoma.

In their talks, Mr Lee told President Magufuli that his country is rich, thanks to strong commitment to hard work and zero tolerance to corruption.

Mr Lee expressed optimisms that Tanzania will also prosper as a result of the current government’s efforts to fight corruption and encourage hard work. South Korea will also support Tanzania’s plan to build a big boat to sail on Lake Victoria.

“All these endeavours aim at transforming Tanzania into a modern state,” he said.

TANROADS Chief Executive Officer Engineer Patrick Mfugale said the bridge construction was a brainchild of President Magufuli who hatched the idea when he was the Works Minister in the previous government.

“He wanted experts to explore the possibility of constructing the Selander Bridge Flyover to reduce traffic jams in the city,” Engineer Mfugale noted.

The feasibility study for the project started in 2014 until 2017 when the contractor for the implementation of the project was procured.

Meanwhile Tanzanians with diplomatic or service passports no longer need visas to enter South Korea, it was announced in Dar es Salaam last week.

The good news follows an agreement that the two countries have signed to strengthen their diplomatic relations.

Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Augustine Mahiga and Korean First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Lim Sung-nam signed the document at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and his Korean counterpart Lee Nak-Yon witnessed the agreement signing.

The event was part of activities scheduled for the three-day official visit of Mr Lee who arrived in the country on Saturday evening.

Premier Lee will also have official talks with President John Magufuli today before departing for home later in the afternoon.

Other activities yesterday included visit to the data centre of the National Identification Authority (NIDA) in Kibaha District, Coast region and tour of the National Museum in Dar es Salaam.

Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony, Mr Majaliwa said that the event marks a new era of boosting diplomatic relations between the two countries, removing the requirement of Visas for diplomatic and service passport holders who wish to travel to South Korea.

He went on explaining what transpired during their official talks with his Korean counterpart prior to signing the agreement.

Among others, the two leaders discussed economic, culture, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), tourism and trade development between Tanzania and South Korea.

"We have welcomed many Korean companies to invest in various undergoing projects here," said Mr Majaliwa.

Some of the projects are the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), newly constructed Mloganzila hospital, construction of 3200-metre Kigongo-Busisi weighbridge and 42-kilometre highway to Tabora.

"We are glad that South Korean government has also agreed to market our tourist attractions in South Korea...but the most important thing is to improve relations between the two countries," he stated.

Private sectors from the two countries will today meet to deliberate on trade related issues.