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Nkayi roadworks resume

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2023 at 07:23hrs | Views
WORK on the rehabilitation of a 15km stretch of the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is set to resume with contractors now in the process of mobilising machinery and other equipment, and expected to be on the site for the road works.

The rehabilitation of Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is among the top priority projects in Matabeleland North Province that have been allocated significant amounts of money to expedite progress in the 2023 National Budget.

So far, about 40km of the road has been upgraded with funding constraints stalling progress.

According to the 2023 National Budget statement presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Treasury allocated $470 billion for Matabeleland North priority infrastructure projects that include the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road construction, which was allocated $1,5 billion.

The infrastructural projects consist of road works, innovation hubs, industrial parks, irrigation schemes and accommodation among other projects.

Due to the slow pace in rehabilitating the 158km Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, motorists and the travelling public endure delayed journeys and breakdowns, amid higher incidences of accidents.

Despite the delays linked to resource constraints, the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has pledged to repair the dilapidated road to ease the burden on motorists and the travelling public.

A news crew on Monday drove along some sections of Bulawayo-Nkayi Road and observed that part of the road had been closed to the motoring public to pave way for road works.

The 15km stretch of the road that is under rehabilitation goes up to Turk Mine in Bubi District.
In separate interviews, motorists said travelling on the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road has become a nightmare.

Mr Nkosi Thebe said there is a need to fix the road as it is in a bad state.
"I come from Chief Malisa in Silobela and where we are coming from is very far. Our vehicle had a puncture twice and we spent the night on the road. A distance that would ordinarily be travelled within two hours now takes six hours," he said.

"I am glad Government under the Second Republic has taken a bold decision to rehabilitate the road."
Another motorist, Mr Dalubuhle Zila said each time he drives along the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, it has become a norm for him to take his car to a mechanic for routine maintenance.

"It is almost guaranteed that the vehicle will develop a mechanical fault after navigating through the bad patches of the road," he said.

Bubi Rural District Council chief executive officer Dr Patson Mlilo said Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is a critical road for economic growth.

"When the road is in that state we are affected as public transporters also shun the plying the route thus creating a transport crisis for the local community. Due to the state of the road, suppliers of goods are no longer delivering goods, especially during the rainy season," he said.

Dr Mlilo said the community is expecting the road to be attended to as a matter of urgency.
"That road was started last year and when everyone was happy that good work was being done, the contractor stopped. So, if Government has secured funding its good news and we are happy about it and we pray that the contractor does a good job," he said.

Responding to questions in Parliament last week during the National Assembly's Question and Answer Session, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona said contractors are in the process of mobilising machinery to start rehabilitating the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road.

"Contractors are now taking machinery to that area so that they proceed to rehabilitate and tar 15km of the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road and work is expected to start soon," he said.

Minister Mhona said the rehabilitation of the road is being funded by Government under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP 2).

"I would like to thank His Excellency, the President Dr ED Mnangagwa for the budget that we are using for the ERRP 2. That is the budget that we are using on rehabilitating the 15km and the budget is already there," he said.

"They are tallying with the budget that we have. We will not end there, but we want to reach Nkayi."
Minister Mhona said Government has also secured a financial partnership to rehabilitate the Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane Road.
He said the ministry is aware that the state of most of the roads have further deteriorated due to rains with Government now prioritising fixing some of the worst affected roads.

"Going on the other route of Nkayi to Victoria Falls, right now we are going after all the most dilapidated roads like Lupane- Victoria Falls. All the roads are now dilapidated. We are rehabilitating that road," said Minister Mhona.

"If you see us selecting areas such as those between Bulawayo and Beitbridge, the aim of the Government is to ensure that those roads are rehabilitated like what we are doing on the Harare-Beitbridge and Harare-Chirundu roads."

Minister Mhona said Government is targeting the most destroyed roads. Last week, Transport and Infrastructure Development Permanent Secretary Engineer Theodius Chinyanga said Government had opened tenders inviting companies to rehabilitate Bulawayo-Victoria Falls which is now in a sorry state.
He said it is Government's expectation that by mid-March a contractor would have moved to the site.

Source - The Chronicle
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