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Killer potholes in Bulawayo

by Staff Reporter
27 Apr 2021 at 06:32hrs | Views
MOTORISTS in Bulawayo have called for urgent action on pothole-riddled roads that continue to cause fatal accidents in the city.

Motorists approaching potholes are sometimes forced to swerve into the path of oncoming traffic or out of the road.

According to Chronicle, a news crew yesterday observed vehicles in near-collisions as drivers avoided potholes along Leopold Takawira Avenue in Bulawayo where veteran journalist and former Chronicle Sports Editor Innocent Kurwa (63) died after his car, a Nissan Almera, was on Saturday involved in a head-on collision.

Similar scenarios played out on many other roads in the city. Police recorded three serious accidents around the city on Sunday.

The first accident occurred at around 5pm at intersection of Heyman and Gwanda Road, Suburbs, Bulawayo where two people were injured.

A 65-year-old man from Suburbs, Bulawayo was driving a Toyota Corolla along Gwanda Road when he collided with another vehicle as he allegedly veered to avoid a pothole.

Both unnamed drivers were injured and rushed to hospital.

Six passengers were injured in the second accident along Old Khami Road and Mpopoma Drive around 7.30pm, while a cyclist was rushed to hospital after being hit by a car that had veered off the road at around 7.50pm at the 23km peg along the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abedinico Ncube confirmed the accidents yesterday. Motorists attributed the mishaps to the pothole menace and blamed the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) for failing to attend to roads, despite collecting rates from residents.

Mr Ronald Ndlovu said BCC should fix the roads to stop the carnage, particularly the black-spot where Kurwa crashed and later died in hospital.

"We are risking our lives every time we drive along most roads in the city. The roads are so bad we have to swerve to the wrong lane to avoid potholes. The city council should do something about this road and it's a highway. The council is failing us," he said.

Miss Velda Musengeyi said: "Driving at night along that road is a suicide mission. It's either you risk your own life or the lifespan of your car because the moment you try to avoid potholes you risk colliding with an oncoming vehicle and if you go through it, you are risking damaging your car."

Mr Ishmael Moyo said potholes flatten tyres and rims can crack from severe pothole strikes. He said he had a close call last week.

"I remember sometime last week when I was driving from Nust to the city centre I wasn't aware that there is a pothole and I went through it and my tyre was flattened. I had to call people at home to rescue me at 10pm," said Mr Moyo.

Mr Gerald Nhliziyo said motorists are forced to ignore road traffic rules and encroach into oncoming traffic lanes as robbers sometimes strike when motorists slow down to drive over potholes at night.

"There is a dangerous pothole in the middle of the road along Luveve Road. We are now forced to jump to the next lane to avoid it.

"We'll be risking our lives and those of other motorists and if we go on the left side, we'll also be risking running over pedestrians. Robbers have taken advantage of that pothole to rob motorists who would have reduced speed at the pothole," said Mr Nhliziyo.

Early this month, President Mnangagwa revealed that the Government has set aside $33,6 billion for the Second Phase of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme across the country.

This was after the Government in February declared the country's road network a state of disaster as most of the roads have become untrafficable following damage by heavy rains that were received across the country and poor maintenance by local authorities.

According to the latest Bulawayo City Council report, the local authority has, while awaiting the release of the funds by Treasury, identified the roads that are set to be rehabilitated under the Government-funded facility.

Some of the major roads due to be rehabilitated under the facility include Fife Street (Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue to 23rd Avenue, 4,1 kilometres), Luveve Road- arterial (Lobengula Street to Nguboyenja Avenue, 2,1 kilometres), Luveve Road -arterial (Nguboyenja to Siyephambili drive, 4,7 kilometres), Waverly Road (Sixth Avenue Extension to Khami Road, 1,7 kilometres), Matopos Road (23rd Avenue to Leander Avenue, 2,5 kilometres) and Matopos Road (Leander Avenue to City boundary, 2,9 kilometres.

Others include; Nketa Drive-major collector (Hyde Road to Emadibheni Road 2,1 kilometres), Nketa Drive-major collector (Hyde Park Road to Khami Road 1,1 kilometres), Coghlan Avenue (George Avenue and Cecil Avenue, 2,8 kilometres), George Avenue (Gwanda Road to Harare Road, 2,4 kilometres), Dundee Drive (Plumtree Road to Matopos, 2,9 kilometres), Cowdray Corridor (Railway line to Cowdray Park service station, 2,9 kilometres, Doncaster Road (Bristol Rd South to 23rd Avenue. 1,09 kilometres) and Josiah Chinamano 14th Avenue to Halifax road, 2,9 kilometres.

At the time of going to print, Bulawayo city council corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu had not responded to questions sent to her.

Source - Chronicle