Govt goes big on road works

Tanyaradzwa Kutaura
Government will rehabilitate, construct and upgrade at least 2 000km of road in the next two months, The Sunday Mail has established.

The massive road works are part of a broader national programme to improve infrastructure and spur economic growth and development.

Since January, Government has been conducting works on major roads and other feeder networks in a multi-million dollar effort to modernise Zimbabwe.

Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development director for road maintenance Engineer Kudzanai Chinyanga told this newspaper that, “Before the rains, we are targeting at least 2 000km of constructed roads.

“This is also the time for undertaking reseals and we are targeting 300km, but if we manage to get bitumen in large quantities, we can do more.

“Minor repairs were completed for major bridges and we are targeting construction of Nyamangura Bridge in Manicaland at a cost of $800 000, Ingwingwizi Bridge in Matabeleland North at a cost of $3,5million, Pembi Bridge in Mashonaland Central pegged at $5million and, lastly, Kawongo Bridge in Midlands, which should cost $1,5 million.”

Eng Chinyanga said re-grading and re-gravelling of rural roads had covered 1 750km by the end of June. Government plans to complete 2 500km of these year-end at a cost of $1,2 million.

Eng Chinyanga said road works were better carried out in dry conditions, hence the determination to move with urgency.

“During the rainy season, there is a lot of moisture content and this affects bases since bases will not achieve optimum compaction,” he said.

“Also, binders require certain temperatures for bonding well and this does not take place during the rainy season. Because of the heavy rains and flooding, construction of bridges is impossible.”

Government embarked on an Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme last year to recover the deteriorating road network.

In the capital, Government is helping the Harare City Council to construct and rehabilitate more than 70km of road before the onset of rains.

The city’s latest maintenance progress report shows that 48km of the targeted 126km had been completed by August 28, 2018.

“Uncompleted roads stood at 54,8km, with works currently in progress and a total of 23,3km for new roads also in progress,” reads part of the report.

Job creation

The massive public works have been a boon for local companies that have been roped in as contractors and suppliers for the project.

More than 4 000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs have been created so far, while 267 local companies have been engaged to supply materials.

The targeted public works have also created thousands of jobs in both downstream and upstream industries feeding into the project.

For instance, the City of Harare has contracted five local companies.

Bitumen World has been tasked to reclaim, spray, chip and overlay a total of 18,1km of road at a cost of $3,9 million.

Fossil Construction has been tasked to rehabilitate 8,4km at a cost of $1,5 million; while Tencraft Construction was apportioned 13,1km, which will cost $2,1 million to rehabilitate.

Tarcon Construction will attend to 4,8km worth $864 000; while Truck and Construction will spruce up 3,9km for $1,1 million.

Since central Government intervened to rehabilitate road networks falling under the purview of local authorities, the Finance and Economic Development Ministry – through the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration – has released the bulk of the funding.

“Zinara roll over amounted to $2,8 million, Ministry of Finance injected a total of $450 000, Zinara budget for 2018, which council received, amounted to $12,9 million and council requested a further $4 million and $1,8 million for the rehabilitation of VVIP roads and hot spots, respectively,” said the City of Harare report.

The council has requested an extra $3 million to complete ongoing projects.

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