More than $1 billion will be pumped into the upgrading of seven toll plazas by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) to ensure efficiency.
The seven tollgates slated for upgrade are: Skyline, Norton, Esigodini, Mushagashe, Dema, Mupfurudzi and Colleen Bawn.
Skyline, along Masvingo Road, will be relocated and will have 12 lanes.
Norton, Esigodini and Mushagashe tollgates will have eight lanes each, while Dema and Colleen Bawn will have six lanes each and Mupfurudzi will have four lanes.
Zinara public relations and marketing manager Mr Tendai Mugabe said the upgrade to modern tolling infrastructure will be done by the Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
Motorists complain about long queues at some toll gates, which has severe economic impact and encourages some to use bypass roads thereby prejudicing the authority of revenue.
“We have set aside $1,145 billion for the construction of modern toll plazas. This is in line with Vision 2030. We also want our infrastructure to meet the best standards.
“Skyline which is one of our busiest tollgates is going to have 12 lanes and we are also going to move it from its current location together with Dema tollgate as well. We realised that the two tollgates are now in the middle of residential areas and this has created several bypasses and security concerns.
“We believe that one of the causes of congestion at the tollgates is the limited number of lanes, although we have other bottlenecks such as network challenges. The increase of lanes is going to contribute significantly towards easing of congestion.”
Mr Mugabe said Zinara was also exploring the concept of e-tolling, common in many developed countries as the best and efficient way to collect toll fees.
Under e-tolling a motorist has a device in their vehicle and money in an electronic account.
They simply drive through the gate, without stopping, and the toll fee is automatically deducted from their account. In Singapore this has even reached the stage that a motorist is heavily fined if there is not enough money in the account and manual methods have to be used.
“I don’t want to pre-empt what our ICT department is doing at the moment, but I can confirm that e-tolling is something that we are seriously considering, and our ICT department is seized with that project,” said Mr Mugabe.
He added: “The ultimate objective of our efforts is to bring convenience to the motoring public at the tollgates and when they visit our vehicle licensing sites. We want to move with technology in line with international best practices.”