More tollgates for Zimbabwe
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The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) will install state-of-the-art toll plazas, which look like those found along highways in neighbouring South Africa, on the 820 kilometres of highway that is being rehabilitated and upgraded to international standards.
The plazas would all be erected on the highway within the next three years, with the first one set to be operational by the end of September.
A new toll plaza would be erected between Gweru and Kwekwe, while another one would be constructed at the proposed tollgate site, about 15km along the Bulawayo-Harare highway.
A third would be at Ruwa where there is a tollgate that is not functional.
The six functional tollgates on the route are at Figtree, Treetops, Kadoma, Norton, Rusape and Mutare.
The country presently has 22 tollgates, whose rudimentary structures reportedly need urgent attention.
At the moment light vehicles are charged $1, the next class of vehicle, which includes kombis $2, buses $3, lorries $4 while haulage truck users fork out $5.
In an interview yesterday, Zinara spokesperson Mr Augustine Moyo, said the first toll plaza tolling fees would be increased at the new toll plazas.
Mr Moyo said toll fees would initially be increased only on the rehabilitated highway.
"The first tolling plaza in the country will be operational by the end of September. It will either be at the Figtree tollgate site or at the proposed tollgate site on the outskirts of Bulawayo. Higher fees that are yet to be gazetted will be charged at the plazas," said Mr Moyo.
He said the higher fees would help pay back the $206,6 million that Zinara borrowed from the Development Bank of Southern Africa to finance the rehabilitation of the highway.
Mr Moyo said the new toll plazas represented the country's efforts to modernise highways to international standards.
He said the plazas would be constructed at a cost of about $1 million each.
Mr Moyo said a new computerised system that would virtually eliminate fraud would be put in place at the toll plazas.
"The manual system that is open to abuse will be done away with. A computerised system that will be linked to the Central Vehicle Registry and will use vehicle licence plates to recognise types of vehicles, owners as well as control the boom gate will be installed," he said.
Mr Moyo said the system would have sensors and record the number of times the boom gate is opened for audit purposes.
Last year, the State was prejudiced of potential revenue of $1,7 million in a ticket scam at tollgates that led to the arrest of two Zimra employees.
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