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Mutare Airport to be relocated

by Staff reporter
22 Jan 2024 at 04:45hrs | Views
Plans by the Government to relocate the Grand Reef Airport near Mutare to Mutasa South District where there is enough flat land for a new modern airport are at an advanced stage with the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) set to conduct a feasibility study at the new site.

At the same time other roads around Mutare are to be rehabilitated under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase 2 (ERRP2).

Last Friday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona, his deputy Joshua Sacco and Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Misheck Mugadza, among other senior Government officials, toured Forbes border post and the proposed airport site.

In an interview after the tour, Airports Company of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Tawanda Gusha said the Airports Company of Zimbabwe was going to conduct a feasibility study to quick-start the works for the development of the airport for Mutare.

"We are expecting that before the end of the year we will have completed the feasibility study and we would have submitted the study report to the ministry as well as design brief that we think will serve this province.

"We also think we will make the airport a successful commercial airport in this province. This position at the new site is almost 26km from the city of Mutare using the road that we used today which is really within expected distances of airports from the city centres," he said.

Minister Mhona also said the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa was walking the talk in terms of infrastructure development as well as the rehabilitation of the roads countrywide.

"The advantage of having an airport in this area is that we are going to see growth in economic development as we are now able to ferry goods through railway, roads as well as in the air. As you have heard, minerals will also be ferried to their various destinations through this airport," he said.

The minister said after the airport was completed, it was going to create employment for people in and around the area. The road that leads to the airport was going to be rehabilitated.

Minister Mugadza also applauded the Government and President Mnangagwa for this development.

"I would like to thank our Government led by our visionary leader President Mnangagwa for constructing an airport in this area. I would like to thank Minister Mhona who is also very hardworking. This new airport is going to change Manicaland.

"Here in Manicaland, the big issue is tourism and it is going to take 30 minutes for people to arrive in Manicaland from Harare once the airport is now functional. It is my hope that some of the tourists that would want to go to Victoria Falls will also choose to come to this province since we have a lot of areas that tourists would want to visit," he said.

He said that those people who would have to be moved for the construction site of the airport would be properly relocated to other areas.

Chief Mutasa welcomed the development and also applauded the Government for choosing the site in his area for the construction the airport.

Meanwhile, plans to construct a 33km stretch of road to divert trucks round Christmas Pass in Mutare to take them directly to an upgraded Forbes Border Post at the edge of the city are also now at an advanced stage after Government recently entered into a partnership with local contractor Leengate Private Limited.

The planned Christmas Pass bypass comes after numerous accidents in the area, particularly involving heavy vehicles. Barely a week passes by without an accident being recorded at Christmas Pass, with some of them being fatal. In some of the cases, goods worth thousands of dollars are damaged.

Minister Mhona said: "We have also advanced in terms of expanding our Christmas Pass by-pass and as we speak, we are finalising our funding modalities which within the next two weeks will be actually broadcasting what we have done and the contractor is ready to start executing which is close to a 30km stretch.

"And you see that at the end of the day as we then decongest we also need to find alternative routes and this is what we are doing and we believe the Christmas Pass by-pass will alleviate the challenges that we are witnessing.

"Not only are we focusing on the Christmas Pass by-pass, we are also looking at the dualasation of the road from Mutare to Harare and we have started. Right now we are at Melfort and we are resuming very soon into Marondera as we gravitate towards Forbes Border Post," he said.

The Government, added the minister, was also considering to expand the Cashel Valley Border Post as another gateway into the country.

Minister Mhona said the rehabilitation of Forbes Border Post was now moving to implementation stage and that the pre-feasibility study has been done.

In April, Cabinet announced plans to construct a 33km road to serve as an alternative route in and out of Mutare.

The proposed partnership between the Government and Leengate Private Limited for the Mutare by-pass road will see the construction of a 26km road by Leengate Private Limited to skirt the Christmas Pass road to Forbes Border Post, relieving congestion on the old road, which has become unsafe owing to inadequate carrying capacity.

The project is expected to dovetail with construction of a new dry port to improve cargo clearance at the border post.

Source - The Herald
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