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Matabeleland North roads have outlived lifespan

by Staff reporter
07 May 2022 at 06:19hrs | Views
MOST public roads especially in Matabeleland North need reconstruction as they have outlived their lifespan, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a review meeting for all parastatals under the purview of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development that opened here yesterday, Transport Minister Felix Mhona said Bulawayo-Nkayi, Bulawayo-Tsholotsho and the Cross Dete-Binga roads will be reconstructed.

Work is already underway on the Bulawayo-Nkayi road where the department of roads is working on a 15km stretch while some rehabilitation work is also being done on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road which has lately been infested with potholes.

Government, through the Ministry of Transport, is using local resources as the Second Republic took a deliberate move to improve infrastructure as one of its core values in the National Development Strategy 1.

Having realised the sorry state of roads, President Mnangagwa came up with the US$400 million equivalent Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) last year, premised on the basis that roads are the network that promote beneficial social and economic activities through ensuring a smooth flow of goods and services.

The programme is in four phases spread until February 2024. Minister Mhona said the idea of coming up with ERRP was to attend with speed to the issue of rehabilitation of roads.

The purview of superintending over roads falls under various roads authorities.

"The ministry is also mandated through Statutory Instruments to take charge of roads. We started with trunk roads, for example the Harare-Beitbridge Road where we have done over 300km and our target is to go through the whole road by the end of the year. A number of bridges are also being constructed.

"We are saying we also have to go where there is the general populace, that is the locations and this is what we are currently doing. My team is scoping such roads and we are seeing graders going downstream to rehabilitate our roads. This has been happening and its now at an accelerated pace across the nation," said Minister Mhona.

He said the department of roads works with local authorities in roads rehabilitation programmes to make them trafficable.
The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road is in a sorry state for a highway that leads to a world class tourism destination.

Cross Dete-Binga Road had become un-trafficable with most of its stretch now a death trap despite Binga being a tourism district.

Minister Mhona said Government was aware of the sorry state of the roads in Matabeleland North.

"And we know that most roads especially here in Matabeleland North were not being rehabilitated for years. I am happy that on major roads like the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road for instance a team is on the ground rehabilitating 15km. We have the topical Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway where there was a PPP arrangement but faced challenges. As a ministry we have taken that charge to rehabilitate some sections of the road that were not trafficable and this is what we are doing now," he said.

"The Bulawayo-Tsholotsho and Bulawayo-Binga roads, my team is busy and some are at tendering stage where we are going to reconstruct them. These roads were not rehabilitated for quite a long time and we are saying we don't necessarily need to resurface the roads but to reconstruct them from the ground coming up with new roads that anyone would desire."

A contractor that had been engaged to work on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road was seized with feasibility study for a long time and Government cancelled the contract. The two parties are re-engaging, said Minister Mhona.

He said the issue of road rehabilitation is not for the Ministry of Transport alone as stated by President Mnangagwa who implored every citizen to "come and build our own country."

Minister Mhona said Government is using the ERRP budget although "repairs may not be as big as anticipated by citizens, but we will get there."

With the country suffering from illegal sanctions imposed by America and her allies, the Second Republic is mobilising resources domestically from the fiscus,

Source - The Chronicle
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