BULAWAYO – Bulawayo’s raptured roads will get worse before they get better, the local authority has warned in response to growing public anger over pothole-riddled roads.
The City of Bulawayo says most of its roads “have outlived their economic life” but it is too broke to carry out major works which it says would cost US$700 million.
Recent rains have left huge craters on the city’s 2,400-kilometer road network, endangering motorists and raising the cost of vehicle maintenance for drivers.
Council spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu, in a statement, said resealing of the tarred roads would wait until the end of the wet season.
“Owing to recent rains, all road maintenance works have been halted due to wet ground with the exception of minor storm water drainage works. The roadworks will resume as soon as the rains subside,” Mpofu said.
She said the state of the city’s road network “has been declining due to a large and growing backlog of deferred maintenance programmes which is attributed to lack of funding for decades.”
Just 25 percent of Bulawayo’s roads are fit for purpose, she said.
“Traditionally, government allocations through the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) and revenue accruing to council have been the primary sources of funding for road infrastructure. Year on year, budget allocations have compared unfavourably with funding considered inadequate to maintain road network,” said Mpofu.
“As a result, the road network has continued to deteriorate due to the gap between maintenance requirements and funding.”
Zimbabwe’s rainy season is principally from December to March, suggesting Bulawayo residents will continue navigating the treacherous roads at least for another two months.