George Maponga in Masvingo
An estimated $3 billion is required to rehabilitate key roads across Masvingo Province after they were extensively damaged by heavy rains this season.
Upgrading of the roads will make them durable and stimulate economic activities in line with Vision 2030 by ensuring speedy movement of people and cargo.
Some of the roads are vital links to facilities such as hospitals and schools.
Among the notable roads that have been rendered almost impassable is the Kawi-Neshuro road which links the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway to Neshuro Growth Point and Mwenezi District Hospital.
Another road that was severely damaged is the Matsvange-Nandi road in Bikita together with the road linking Mhandamabwe Growth point to Shurugwi.
The state of the Lothian-Triangle road linking Gutu to Chiredzi has also been worsened by rains together with the Ngundu-Tanganda road.
Some of the roads earmarked for upgrading under this programme are narrow mats (old roads with narrow tar strips) such as the Old Beitbridge road (Stopover-Bondolfi).
Provincial roads Engineer Robert Mukome said preliminary calculations indicated that over $3 billion was required to rehabilitate the roads.
He said work was billed to start once resources were availed.
“At the moment, we have started with the Kawi-Neshuro road to improve its trafficability by attending to gulleys and other sections that were damaged by rains. We have decided to take advantage of the impending rehabilitation programme of the highway to upgrade it to tarmac and we are waiting for the funds to be disbursed,” said Eng Mukome.
He said some of the roads require emergency works for them to be trafficable while others will undergo full rehabilitation.
“We will carry out preventive works, which basically entails resurfacing and this applies to roads such as Mhandamabwe-Shurugwi and Ngundu-Tanganda. Other dusty roads damaged by the rains will undergo re-gravelling.
“We have submitted our budget to Government for funding so that we can kick-start works on these road projects to improve trafficability in the short term and also upgrade them,” Eng Mukome said.
Funding will be secured from the Ministry of Finance and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).
Already, several other major roads in Masvingo were undergoing rehabilitation and upgrading in line with Vision 2030.
Among these roads is Gutu-Buhera, Zvishavane-Rutenga-Sango, Chivi-Mhandamabwe and Masvingo-Zimuto roads.
The projects are at different stages of completion with work having been stalled by the rains.