Source: $700m for major highway rehab | The Herald November 2, 2018
Felex Share Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT will now rehabilitate and widen the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway over the next three years at a cost of $693 million, while dualisation will only take place on some sections of the road.
The road will be widened from the current seven metres to 12,5 metres making it at par with the N1 highway in South Africa and the Chirundu-Lusaka Road in Zambia.
This was revealed by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa while addressing journalists after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
Local contractors will carry out the project while Government concludes negotiations with Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited (AFECC), a Chinese firm contracted to implement the dualisation exercise.
Sections of the road to be dualised will cost $466 million.
“Cabinet received a briefing by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development (Joel Biggie Matiza) on progress in the rehabilitation and dualisation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, following the decision by Government to use resources from the Road Fund, while waiting the conclusion of ongoing discussion with AFECC, a Chinese investor on the project,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“It should be noted that the decision to commence work on the rehabilitation and dualisation of the highway using local resources was taken in light of the fact that a lot of time has already been lost on the project and that the lives of the travelling public continued to be at risk along this major highway which joins the North-South Development Corridor in the sub-region.
“In terms of this arrangement, the highway will be upgraded in two phases. Phase one entails the rehabilitation and widening of the existing road from the current seven metres width to Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATCC) standards of 12,5 meters width, and climbing lanes where necessary. This will bring the road to the same standard as N1 on the South African side and the Chirundu-Lusaka Road on the Zambian side.”
The dualisation exercise was initially supposed to be carried out by an Austrian firm Geiger International, but Government terminated the contract after interminable delays in project implementation.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the widening phase will take three years.
“Phase 2 will entail the dualisation of the rest of the sections of the road at a cost of $466 million,” she said.
“To ensure value for money and high quality work, a reputable international consultancy company will be engaged as independent project engineer. The envisaged implementation model will entail utilisation of local contractors, materials and labour which has the advantage of increasing local employment generation and stimulating greater demand for the overall economy.”
Minister Matiza weighed in: “The first phase has already started with mobilisation of equipment. Some of it is on site and they are working on detours.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said Minister Matiza had also briefed Cabinet on progress achieved on the modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post.
“The tender of the upgrading of the border post awarded to the ZimBorders Consortium under a BOT financial model, without the need for a government guarantee,” she said.
“The project is valued at $231,2 million and will entail the upgrading of the border post, with new terminal buildings and commercial facilities, construction of a fire station, upgrading of sewer and water reticulation for Beitbridge town including a raw water pipeline and reservoir, plant and animal quarantine facility and the construction of staff housing for border agencies.”
She said international financiers for the project were conducting a due diligence exercise which will lead to financial closure.
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