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Damaged Matabeleland North roads rehab under way

by Staff reporter
14 Jun 2021 at 05:20hrs | Views
THE rehabilitation of major roads is under way in Matabeleland North Province and the Government is providing the resources for the work so as to ensure smooth transportation and facilitation of investment, a minister has said.

The rehabilitation works are part of the Government's $33,6 billion country-wide Second Phase of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) that was officially launched by President Mnangagwa in April.

The poor state of the roads has sparked an outcry across provinces in the wake of heavy rains in the last season, which left a trail of destruction, mainly on road infrastructure.

In Matabeleland North Province, the Bulawayo-Nkayi and Bulawayo-Tsholotsho roads are regarded as the worst affected.
The damage of roads has seen public transport operators suspending services to some routes, leaving the public and business travellers stranded.

In the case of Tsholotsho, transport operators now opt to use the long meandering route via Solusi Road to try and skirt the dilapidated Nyamandlovu Road.

While the pothole patching works have covered major parts of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway, the Kamativi-Binga Road is still heavily littered with potholes, forcing motorists to create detours on the roadside as they negotiate their way through.

This news crew observed a section of the main road near Binga Centre on the edge of Zambezi River push back, which was swept away by rains and motorists have for the past months been dangerously negotiating their way past the point.

In an interview in Binga on Friday, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Richard Moyo, admitted that most roads were in a bad state but said the Government has moved in to address the situation.

"Yes, the roads are in bad shape, especially the stretch from Kamativi to Binga, it's littered with potholes. Bidding by contractors had been done but there seems to have been a mistake and they have now given the contract to the second bidder," he said.

"We hope by next week pothole patching will commence. The stretch to Siabuwa has already been graded and the chiefs were expressing gratitude to the Government.

"Many damaged roads are being graded and we are left with patching potholes along Binga road, we are pushing the road engineers on that.

"Nkayi Road is also in bad shape and I was there yesterday, I was speaking to Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development (Felix) Mhona who had visited Nkayi. So, we expect work to start anytime.

"The ministry has secured contractors to work on that (Nkayi) road and maybe this year they will do about 14 to 15km and reach Ngwigwizi Bridge."

Stakeholders have over the years complained that the widening of Nkayi Road has dragged longer and appealed to the Government to prioritise the project.

Minister Moyo said Tsholotsho Road, which has also been reduced to a strip, was being attended to and expressed hope that the upgrades would stretch to Nyamandlovu this year.

He admitted that the diversion of routes by transport operators was costly and an inconvenience to the public and businesses.

In the case of Binga, in particular, the minister said the poor state of the road network was crippling tourism activities. Binga is a unique tourist attraction and has been incorporated under the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Binga is a sleeping tourism giant with the potential to be an economic hub if the natural resources in the area are tapped into.

The district has sand beaches along Zambezi River, hot springs, fishing, boating and a rich culture hence the need for a reliable road network

"That is why the Government and DDF are working on these roads. This is crucial as Binga has been included under the SEZ," said Minister Moyo.

Source - chronicle
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