Latest News Editor's Choice


News / National

$1bn road rehab gathers momentum

by Staff reporter
08 Dec 2019 at 11:44hrs | Views
Government has paid 10 percent upfront for project costs to five contractors that have been chosen to rehabilitate the Chirundu-Harare-Beitbridge road, which is expected to gobble $1 billion.

Tensor Systems, Masimba Construction, Fossil Contractors, Exodus and Company, and Bitumen World — which have been allocated 20-kilometre stretches each at various sections of the road — have since mobilised on site.

Starting from next month, Government will ring-fence 5 percent of excise duty revenue collected on fuel  to bankroll the ambitious project.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said authorities did not anticipate any stoppages once work begins.

"There is $1 billion for the road and it has been ring-fenced, so there is no stopping now.

"The companies are now on site as we speak and they have started working," said Minister Matiza.

"In terms of roads, Vision 2030 is attainable and our focus is on the major roads.

"In terms of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, the contractors are now on site. They were given 10 percent (of project costs) to commence works, and they have started working on the roads."

Exodus & Company, which is working on the 20-kilometre segment of the Maringire-Ngundu road, said it was presently constructing the detour road.

More than 30 workers from surrounding communities have been engaged, while various services have been outsourced from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and artisans — carpenters, plumbers, welders, auto-electricians — from Ngundu and Maringire shopping centres.

"Exodus & Company has fully mobilised construction plant and other resources. At the moment, we are constructing the detour road," the company said in written responses to The Sunday Mail.

"The reconstruction of the main road will start after finalisation of road designs. The Government has awarded the design work to ProStruct (Consulting) Engineers."

More than 30 workers from surrounding communities have been engaged, while various services have been outsourced from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and artisans — carpenters, plumbers, welders, auto-electricians — from Ngundu and Maringire shopping centres.

"As a result, the downstream benefits of the project have started to filter to the local people," the company said.

Bitumen will be sprucing up the Bubi area in Matabeleland South province.

Its operations manager, Mr Chris Seager, expressed satisfaction with the progress that had been registered so far.

"What we can say is we are on site and work is progressing very well."

Masimba Construction chief executive officer Mr Canada Malunga referred questions to the Department of Roads, which falls under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed firm will be working on a section of road in the Midlands province.

Tensor Systems will cover Mashonaland East, while Fossil Contractors will be responsible for the Masvingo-Chatsworth stretch.

Initially, Geiger International, an Austrian company, was awarded the tender for rehabilitating the road.

The three-year project was expected to begin in 2016, but endless delays forced Government to cancel the tender.

Transport expert Mr Smart Dumba said it was important for Government to improve its tendering system for road projects to be expeditiously undertaken.

"It is good that Government is prioritising the urgency of the construction of the road," he said.

The road is one of the most important highways as it connects Zimbabwe to several countries in the region.

"Transport is the lifeline for any economy, thus efforts to rehabilitate and construct road network should be highly commended.

"However, it is important for Government to relook at its tendering systems as some of the projects take long to be completed because of the contractors."

The Harare-Beitbridge-Chirundu road is critical to the North-South transport corridor as it links African countries to the continent's second-biggest economy, South Africa.

The scope of the current works include widening and rehabilitating it to make it trafficable.

Most accidents on the road are blamed on its poor condition.

Source - sundaymail

Subscribe

Email: