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Only 5km of reconstructed Victoria Falls Highway section open to motorists

by Staff reporter
15 Aug 2023 at 06:32hrs | Views
BITUMEN World, the company contracted by Government to rehabilitate the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road has completed the reconstruction of a 5km section of the highway near Hwange and opened it to motorists.

The re-opened stretch of the road between South Mining in Madumabisa, Hwange and Deka river had been barricaded over the past few months to allow comprehensive works after it was heavily damaged.

The new-look road is now wider and smoother as opposed to the previously rough and bumpy surface.
The other stretch between Deka river and Cinderella is, however, still closed as construction work is still underway.

Pothole patching has also been completed between Hwange and Victoria Falls and between Gwayi and Halfway up to Lupane where the road had been extensively damaged. In the past few days, the Bitumen teams were patching between Lupane and Kenmaur.

The company recently established an asphalt production plant in the Gwayi area between Lupane and Hwange in Matebeleland North province to speed up the road rehabilitating works.

Matebeleland North provincial roads engineer, Xolani Ncube, yesterday said rehabilitation work on other portions of the highway is progressing well.
"Reconstruction is underway from 334km peg to 366km peg. Up to date the contractor has opened to traffic 4.7km (Hwange Section)," he said.
"As for routine maintenance grass cutting has been done almost the whole road. As for pothole patching, the team is working from Mbembesi River Bridge to Insuza (90km peg to 123km peg).

"Pothole patching has been done from Victoria Falls to Mbembesi River Bridge (123km peg to 435km peg). As new potholes emerge, they will be attended to."

Matebeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Richard Moyo, said the Government was happy with progress being made on the road.

"We have been hearing so many positive comments from motorists about the quality of the section of the road that has been opened in Hwange. We are happy with progress as the contractor is moving very fast and if they continue with this speed they might finish by next week because pothole patching is now after St Luke's," he said.

The minister commended the contractor, especially Bitumen World chief executive Mr Andre Zietsman who heeded the call by President Mnangagwa and recently attended a rally addressed by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga where he made a commitment to complete the project within set timelines.
Mr Zietsman is on record saying maintenance works would likely be completed within the next 11 months. He noted that since the commencement of works in the past few weeks, they were progressing well and that their estimates were that the close to 400km highway will be fully repaired in the next 11 months.

Haulage trucks, mainly from the coal mining areas in the Hwange district, have been largely blamed for the rapid deterioration of the road, leading to legislators calling for the implementation of a resolution that 15 percent of minerals or cargo from mining houses be transferred to the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

However, the railway entity has been facing challenges resulting in most businesses resorting to using heavy trucks on the roads, which has been blamed for damaging major highways, which increases the cost of maintenance and rehabilitation.

It took President Mnangagwa's intervention to ensure the speedy response following an outcry by stakeholders who felt the damaged highway was now risky to motorists as it caused accidents while businesses incurred high costs on fleet repairs with a huge strain on the tourism industry, in particular.

Bitumen quickly deployed its teams to different points along the highway to undertake intense pothole patching, resurfacing, and repairing damaged road edges.

The Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway is a strategic trade route on the regional north-to-south corridor, linking Zimbabwe with South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia as well as the DRC.

On the Matebeleland South stretch, provincial roads engineer, Engineer Nkomo said reconstruction is underway from the 221km peg to 229km peg.
He said pothole patching is ongoing at various sections along the road and there is a 6km stretch, which has been earmarked for reseal.

The section has been prepared and is ready for reseal, said Eng Nkomo.
Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Beitbridge Road had over the years deteriorated to appalling levels resulting in a number of fatal accidents as motorists tried to navigate around the potholes.

Road construction falls under the infrastructure clusters and roads are regarded as key economic enablers in the attainment of Vision 2030, that of achieving an upper middle-income society.

Source - the chronicle
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