$345m set aside for road building

03 Feb, 2019 - 00:02 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Debra Matabvu
At least $345 million has been set aside for the construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges countrywide as Zimbabwe moves to spruce up its transport network.

The infrastructure development drive dovetails with the Second Republic’s commitment of attaining an Upper Middle-Income economy by 2030.

The road works include an ongoing phased approach to upgrade Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, a 6,5 km stretch along Makuti-Chirundu and the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road.

Government will tap $50 million from the fiscus with $250 million coming from the Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Administration) Infrastructure Bond, for the road works.

Part of the funds will be used to compensate individuals and companies whose properties lie along some of the proposed road expansion routes.

Government is understood to be working on a comprehensive road development programme which envisages rehabilitation of at least 20 kilometres on the targeted highways.

The Harare-Beitbridge-Chirundu highway is considered to be key in the North-South corridor, which links Africa to the continent’s largest economy, South Africa.

“The Harare-Beitbridge highway is part of the North-South corridor linking the southern port of Durban in South Africa to other SADC and Comesa member States to the north and, hence, facilitates trade within the region and Africa at large,” reads part of an Infrastructure Development Plan recently unveiled by Government.

“The increase in traffic volumes, coupled with the poor state of the highway has resulted in congestion, increased accidents and loss of lives and property.

“During 2019, $300 million will be disbursed to road projects, comprising $50 million in fiscal resources and $250 million proceeds raised through a Zinara Infrastructure Bond.”

Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi said Government would soon flight tenders for some of the major road works.

“We do not have contractors at the moment; however, we will flight the tenders soon so that work can commence during the first half of the year,” he said.

“There is a budget of $20 million for the construction of the Mbudzi roundabout. There is also going to be rehabilitation and partial dualisation of the road from Beitbridge to Harare and compensation of affected properties.

“We are also upgrading the 6,5 km stretch between Marongora-Hellsgate through provision of overtaking lanes on the Chirundu-Makuti highway.”

The deputy minister said Government would also address the issue of traffic build up in major cities and towns, with the Beitbridge-Harare highway being dualised 10 km in and out of administrative centres along the road.

A schedule provided by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development shows that Government will continue rehabilitating roads in all the country’s 10 provinces.

Some of the roads being worked on include Gwanda-Maphisa, Gwanda-Guyu-Manama-Tuli in Matabeleland South, as well as Dete-Binga and Binga-Karoi roads in Matabeleland North.

In Midlands, Government will continue with the rehabilitation of Mberengwa-West Nicholson, Gokwe-Siyabuwa, Kwekwe-Nkayi, Mberengwa-Mataga, Jeka Bridge, Kwekwe-Gokwe and Kawonga Shelvert.

In Mashonaland East, the Hwedza-Sadza and Mushandirapamwe-Hwedza roads will be among those that will be rehabilitated, while in Mashonaland Central, the Guruve -Kanyemba, Mt Darwin-Mukumbura roads will undergo a facelift.

Roads such as Golden Valley-Sanyati, Skyline-Mubaira-Chegutu, Alaska-Copper Queen are scheduled to undergo rehabilitation works.

In Masvingo, Kapota-Zimuto, Chilonga Bridge, Gutu-Buhera, Mhandamahwe-Chivi-Tokwe, Rutenga-Zvishavane among others will be worked as well as the Ngundu-Tanganda and Nyamangura Bridge.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) report published last year, Zimbabwe is among African countries that need to improve its transport network in order to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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