Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is set to rehabilitate 14 key roads and the programme starts with immediate effect after Government recently released funds for road works that will be done until mid-December.
Government declared all roads a state of national disaster last year February leading to the launch of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 at a tune of $33 billion.
Treasury this year allocated $1 billion towards rehabilitation works for a two-pronged approach that will see BCC rehabilitation of some roads while the Department of Roads will be in charge of the others.
Council yesterday said, with immediate effect, it will be conducting overlays, regravelling, reconstruction and reseals on some of the roads.
Roads that will be attended to are Woodville Park Road from Harare Road to Railway Line, Huggins Road from Luveve Road to Luveve Police Station, Fairbridge Way from Cecil Avenue to Phillips Drive and Caxton Road/Wisbech Road and Walsall Road from Batch Street to Woodstock.
Other roads to be attended are Maduma Road from Intemba Road to S J Ngwenya Shops, Luveve 5 Road from Percy Ibboston Road to Kabanto Road and Murchison Road from Scone Drive and Adair Drive.
The council is also going to attend to Chipping Way/Inverleith Drive from Burnside Road, Hospital Road from Ngcebetsha Road to Ziyaphapha Drive and St Albans Drive and Balley Road.
It will also be rehabilitating unnamed roads in Ward 17, Ward 20, Ward 22 and Ward 27 where it will be regravelling the areas.
The new roads will complement the roads which are being rehabilitated by the Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
Roads that are being rehabilitated by the Department of Roads include Cecil Avenue from Bulawayo-Harare Highway to Hillside Road.
Surveys are also underway to pave way for work that will start in due course on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road stretching from Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue to Glenville Drive, Lady Stanley Avenue; rehabilitation of a 5km stretch of the Bulawayo-Gwanda Road from Ascot to Puma Service Station.
Government has also adopted several roads in Western areas that it is targeting to rehabilitate.
More roads are expected to be attended to in the coming year as 70 percent of the city’s roads have outlived their lifespan.
The local authority requires at least US$700 million to rehabilitate major roads in Bulawayo.
In a statement yesterday, Bulawayo acting Town Clerk Mrs Sikhangele Zhou said road works which have taken effect will run until mid-December.
“The motoring public is hereby notified of the ongoing road rehabilitation works within the city of Bulawayo in a bid to improve the state of the road network. The works will involve reconstruction, resurfacing, reinstating of carriageway markings, re-gravelling and other general maintenance works,” said Mrs Zhou.
“The works will resume on the 20th September 2022 and are expected to be completed by 16th December 2022. Once completed these works will prolong the life of the carriageway, improve road safety and ride quality.”
She said motorists and residents should know that the implementation of the project will result in the partial closure of some of the roads.
Mrs Zhou urged residents to be patient with road rehabilitation teams as they conduct the critical work.
“To ensure the safety of both the motoring public and workforce while carrying out the works, the following traffic management system will be in place: full carriageway closure of sections with traffic being diverted accordingly and lane closures where necessary,” said Mrs Zhou.
“Every effort has been made to ensure disruption to traffic, businesses and residents is kept to a minimum. However, the road closure will inevitably cause some disruptions and for this, the City of Bulawayo wishes to apologise in advance.”
She urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when entering and leaving work locations, observe all warning signs and follow diversion route signs.
Acting Bulawayo director of Engineering Services Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube said contracts were recently awarded and contractors will be moving to the ground.
He said council is operating within the new Government regulations which include scrapping of prepayment to contractors.
“We have just awarded tenders for these projects, we haven’t seen much difference, most of the contractors are still mobilising materials but some of them are already on the ground. Government has removed things such as advance payments so we have seen the impact of the new policy changes. So, we are waiting to see the turn-around times for the payments,” he said.
Eng Ncube said the local council was drawing funds for road rehabilitation from three purses hence he could not immediately reveal the amount that has been disbursed for the project.
“Some of the funding is coming from the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP 2), Devolution funds and internal funding. So, I cannot reveal exactly the money that has been disbursed,” said Eng Ncube.
Bulawayo Provincial Roads Engineer Stephen Kamutema said his department will announce when they resume road rehabilitation works.
He said there are policy issues that have affected the implementation of some of the road works and he is not in a position to comment about them.
“I only comment on operations on the ground and policy pronouncement. I will not be able to comment on that,” he said.
Government recently adopted a position that it will not be paying contractors who are offering services charging parallel market rates.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said the operations of some contractors and suppliers lean on extortionist behaviour and their prices were fuelling black market.
As a result, Treasury resolved to stop paying for goods and services by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), parastatals and local authorities whose receipts were using the parallel market. – @nqotshili.
Article Source: The Chronicle