Road works breathe life into Matabeleland South economy

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda/ Thupeyo MuleyaMashudu, Chronicle Reporters

GOVERNMENT has stepped up the rehabilitation of critical roads in Matabeleland South province under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) with motorists praising the Second Republic for transforming the road network. Works on many roads in the province are at various stages of completion, a development that has reduced the cost of travelling and also allowing motorists to save huge sums of money they have been spending on vehicle repairs, especially the suspension.

Government poured $33 billion towards the ERRP 2 after declaring the country’s roads a state of  disaster. Under the ERRP 2, Government wants to improve the road network, which was extensively damaged by incessant rains as it works to harness the potential of the transport system in growing the economy.

Road works in Beitbridge

The reconstruction of roads is an economic enabler and a driver towards the attainment of Government’s Vision to achieve an upper middle-income economy by 2030.In Beitbridge, 5,3km of the road linking the Beitbridge Border Post and the highways leading to Bulawayo and Harare has been completed while part of the 66km Gwanda-Maphisa Road has been tarred.

The Mberengwa-West Nicholson Road, which was recently rehabilitated will have tarmac. It will become the shortest route linking Gweru to Beitbridge. Some of the roads in the province earmarked for rehabilitation include the Beitbridge-Bulawayo highway, Bulawayo-Maphisa Road and the Plumtree-Tsholotsho Road. In Beitbridge, the road network has been significantly transformed under the ongoing US$300 million modernisation of the border post being spearheaded by the Second Republic.

The modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post is among the top infrastructural projects aimed at stimulating economic transformation in line with the drive to attain an empowered and prosperous upper middle-income society by 2030. Bitumen World is one of the five companies contracted by the Government to widen the Harare-Beitbridge Highway. The contractor is constructing a total of 6,3km within Beitbridge Town.

A complete section of the Gwanda-Kezi Road

Bitumen World site engineer Tinotenda Hove said since moving on-site in November last year, they had done 100 percent of civil works on the dual carriageway. “We have opened the whole 5km to traffic. That is between the roads leading to Harare and Bulawayo. At the moment we are seized with ancillary works including installing streetlights, cabbing, paving and sprucing up the two traffic circles,” he said.

Eng Hove said they are also constructing a state-of-the-art roundabout at the point where the road branches to Bulawayo and Masvingo. “Upon completion, the two unique traffic circles will have Great Zimbabwe Monument conical towers at the top which will be 6 metres high and 6 metres wide,” he said.

Eng Hove said they are working on underground storm water drains and kerbs on the dual road and the pedestrian walkways on either side of the road. He said on the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway construction, out of 120km allocated to them, they have so far done 75km with works expected to be completed in December this year. Under the ongoing Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway upgrading and rehabilitation project, a total of 29km will be completed in Matabeleland South.

Some of the equipment deployed for the Gwanda-Kezi Road construction

Matabeleland South provincial roads engineer, Mangisi Nkomo said under the first phase of the Gwanda-Maphisa Road project, Government is focusing on completing the construction of 10km with entire stretch being surfaced. So far, 5km have been done up to surfacing stage.

“The contract was awarded to ZADA Construction and the cost of the project is US$2  808 265. The project commenced in November last year and was scheduled for completion on or before 11 May 2022, but the progress was massively derailed by the rains received in November, December, January and partly February,” said Eng Nkomo.

“Despite the delays, the contractor has managed to successfully complete 5km up to surfacing stage and it has since been opened to traffic.” Eng Nkomo said the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development is also implementing a number of road projects across the province.

Some of the projects include the construction of 5km along the West Nicholson-Mberengwa Road and the contractor is Drawlink Civil Engineers.

“So far, 5km has been primed and the contractor is on the ground preparing to surface the entire 5km. The contractor is expected to have completed the works within the next two weeks,” said Eng Nkomo.

“The construction of 4,3km along the Guyu-Manama Road is also underway and we contracted Difflock Construction. To date all the earthworks have been completed and the project is at surfacing stage while the contractor is mobilising the surfacing materials.”

Eng Nkomo said the project will be completed before the onset of the rains.

“The Ministry is also implementing another high impact project and that is the construction of 15km on the Bulawayo-Maphisa Road from the 45km peg to the 60km peg. This is a design and build contract and the project is at the design phase,”he said.

Eng Nkomo said the contractor is expected to move to the site mid next month upon approval of the designs. The project was awarded to Drawcard Enterprises. Eng Nkomo said they are also carrying out the construction of 10km on the Bulawayo- Beitbridge Road from the 66km peg to the 76km peg and the contractor is Steps and Paths.

“The contractor has started the design and we expect them to commence mobilisation of all the equipment upon approval of the designs,” he said.

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Abedinico Ncube

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and devolution Minister Abedinico Ncube said Government has made great strides in rehabilitation roads most of which were in bad state. “There has been progress on the Gwanda-Maphisa Road, which has been on the drawing board for many years,” he said.

Minister Ncube said a lot of ground has been covered under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme. “My appeal to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development is to speed up the process as roads are a key for economic growth,” he said

Minister Ncube said last month, about 10km of the stretch along the Gwanda-Maphisa Road was tarred.
“The distance between Gwanda and Maphisa is only 66km but due to the condition of the road motorists spend more than three hours. Motorists travelling from either Gwanda or Maphisa are forced to take a longer route via Bulawayo, which is very expensive,” he said.

Minister Ncube said the Gwanda-Maphisa Road is critical in terms of promoting economic growth in the province as it links Gwanda, the provincial capital and ARDA Antelope where a lot of farming activities are happening.

Chronicle yesterday visited the tarred stretch along the Gwanda-Maphisa Road and motorists who spoke to the news crew welcomed the upgrading and rehabilitation of the roads.

A motorist

Mr Blessed Moyo said he was grateful for Government’s intervention to repair the roads.
“I have lived in Gwanda for a very long time and I haven’t seen roads being fixed in a long time. I am happy with what is happening on the Gwanda-Maphisa Road but we are appealing to Government rehabilitate the entire stretch which is in a bad state,” he said

Another motorist, Mr Fridress Moyo, commended Government for implementing the project.
“I am a businessman who plies the Gwanda-Maphisa route to buy potatoes from ARDA Antelope and therefore this road is vey critical,” he said.

Cde Albert Nguluvhe

Motorists and other road users from Beitbridge also lauded Government for the completing the dual carriageways.
“I applaud the Second Republic for speedy and timeous implementation of projects in our town. A road that took many years to complete has been done in a short space of time,” said Mr Remember Ndou.

Beitbridge East legislator, Cde Albert Nguluvhe said the infrastructural development confirms Government’s commitment to deliver on its pre-election promises. – @mashnets @tupeyo .

Article Source: The Chronicle

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