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Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road rehab complete in 1 year

by Staff reporter
31 Jul 2023 at 06:52hrs | Views
THE rehabilitation of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway is progressing well and the contractor, Bitumen World Private Limited, has assured stakeholders that maintenance works would likely be completed within 11 months.

The Government has facilitated the swift deployment of the contractor, which has already deployed its teams at different points along the highway to undertake intense pothole patching, resurfacing, and the repair of damaged road edges.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Zanu-PF rally at Ndangababi Primary School in Hwange East Constituency last week, Bitumen World chief executive, Mr Andre Zietsman, said rehabilitation work was progressing well and that their estimates were that the close to 400km highway will be fully repaired in the next 11 months.

He said at the moment the contractor was seized with emergency rehabilitation works between Hwange and Victoria Falls where a 32km stretch needs complete reconstruction.

"Our projection is to wrap up the emergency works in roughly about 11 months. We will be filling up potholes and doing some reconstruction work outside Hwange town towards Victoria Falls because there are some sections there that have completely degenerated," said Mr Zietsman.

The company has hit the ground running as observations by this news crew driving from Bulawayo to Hwange showed that from Kenmaur to Hwange, potholes have been completely sealed and motorists are enjoying their drive once again.

The stretch between Bulawayo and St Luke's, while it still has some potholes, major ones have been sealed and the contractor is closing the gap.

On the total reconstruction of the highway, Mr Zietsman said his company was not given a contract for that kind of work but theirs was only on emergency works.

"The client asked us to work on emergency works, which is what we are doing and in 11 months, we should be done," he said.

The strategic highway had been seriously dilapidated resulting in an outcry from motorists and business leaders who pleaded with the Government to immediately take action.

The 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.

Responding to public concerns, President Mnangagwa directed that resources be immediately availed to kick-start massive rehabilitation works.

The Government declared the state of roads infrastructure in the country a state of emergency following heavy and destructive rains in the last two years and has been rehabilitating the road network through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, which is set to be succeeded by the Road Development Programme with the aim of developing the country's roads to meet world-class standards in line with Vision 2030.

Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Road had over the years deteriorated to appalling levels resulting in a number of fatal accidents as motorists tried to navigate around the potholes.

Haulage trucks, mainly from the coal mining areas in the Hwange district, have been largely blamed for the rapid deterioration of the load, 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.

Source - The Herald