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Small progress on Beitbridge, Bulawayo -Victoria Falls road

by Staff reporter
30 Aug 2023 at 06:45hrs | Views
SMALL progress has been recorded in the rehabilitation of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo- Victoria Falls Road with the contractor expected to complete about 20km of newly surfaced road within the next two weeks.

Government declared the state of road infrastructure in the country a state of emergency following heavy and destructive rains in the last two years.

Through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, the Second Republic has been rehabilitating the country's road network to meet world-class standards in line with Vision 2030.

Under the Infrastructure, Utilities and Digital Economy cluster, Zimbabwe's economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) prioritises the completion of road rehabilitation projects. 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.

Bitumen World was contracted to repair the more than 800km road, which had over the years deteriorated to appalling levels resulting in a number of fatal accidents.

Last week, the company briefly took a break to allow workers to travel to their different areas to vote with work resuming on Monday. In an interview, Bitumen World Site Agent Engineer Cliff Chiukira said work is in progress and they are targeting to finish before the onset of the rainy season.

"We are back on site and we have resumed work. In Hwange, we are doing the 30km stretch from Hwange towards Victoria Falls while pothole patching between Hwange and Bulawayo is also taking place," he said.

Eng Chiukira said teams are spread along the road and work is underway between Lupane and Cross Jotsholo where patching is being done.

Bitumen World recently set up an Asphalt Plant in Gwayi to speed up its work. Eng Chiukira said the company was confident it will meet its target to complete work.

"So far in terms of work on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls, we will try and cover as much ground as possible before the rains," he said. Eng Chiukira said between Bulawayo and Beitbridge, work is underway to reconstruct about 10km and priming was expected to start yesterday.

Pothole patching is progressing well, especially between Beitbridge town and Makhado where the road is in a bad state.

The company recently opened to motorists a 5km section of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway near Hwange between South Mining in Madumabisa and the southern side of Deka River.

The road had been barricaded in the past few months to allow the company to undertake comprehensive rehabilitation work. The new-look road is now wider and smoother unlike in the past when it had a rough and bumpy surface.

Resurfacing of the other stretch between Deka River and Cinderella is underway and a detour has been created near Thompson Junction. Some potholes between South Mining and the 30km peg towards Victoria Falls have been patched as well as between Gwayi and Halfway up to Lupane and Mbembesi River where the road had been extensively damaged.

Matebeleland North provincial roads engineer, Xolani Ncube, yesterday said the new road in Hwange will likely be opened in two weeks time.

"Teams were deployed on-site to resume work on Monday after a short break, which was necessitated by the elections. Work is resuming with hauling and pre-coating for the surfacing of a section of 3, 16km that's ready to surface," said Eng Ncube.

"About 1,47km is ready for stabilisation and is also being worked on so that an accumulation of 4,63km can be surfaced at once. We are projecting to have done these works in the coming two weeks, which will see 9,37km being opened to traffic as we continue towards Hwange."

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


It took President Mnangagwa's intervention recently to ensure a 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.

Source - The Chronicle
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