Byo-Beitbridge road rehab excites motorists

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Byo-Beitbridge road rehab excites motorists

Bulawayo Bureau

THE ongoing rehabilitation of badly damaged sections of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road has ignited excitement among motorists who had to endure the difficulties of navigating one of the country’s busiest highways.

The road is a major gateway to Sadc countries and tourist destinations within the country. Government contracted Bitumen World to reconstruct 25km of the road and repair the rest by filling potholes properly, sorting out verges and the like.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is using funds from the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase Two (ERRP 2) for the project.

The state of the road has been a cause for concern to various stakeholders as well as motorists as driving along the highway had become a nightmare due to potholes and total collapse of some stretches of the road.

From Beitbridge, the road is badly damaged around Mazunga and Makhado areas.

Reconstruction is underway from the 221km to the 229km peg in the Makhado area. Pothole patching is ongoing on various sections along the highway. Reconstruction will also be done from the 268km to 278km peg in Mazunga area including the 5km to 10km peg in Bulawayo

This project is running concurrently with the rehabilitation of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road. The massive rehabilitation works started following interventions by President Mnangagwa in response to an outcry by motoring public and business leaders.

The Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway is a strategic trade route in the regional north-to-south corridor, linking Zimbabwe with South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia as well as DRC.

Reconstruction of a 5km stretch on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway near Hwange has since been completed and opened to traffic. Maintenance works are likely to be completed within the next 11 months.

Mr Brighton Dube, a driver who plies the Gwanda- Beitbridge route said the intervention by Government has brought huge relief to motorists.

“The state of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road had become terrible and it was difficult, especially for us who use the route every day. The road had been littered with potholes causing severe damage to our vehicles,” he said.

“Now that the Government is rehabilitating the damaged section in Makhado, I hope that they will soon move to Mazunga area as well. We were now worried because we pay toll gates and other road taxes yet the road continued to deteriorate.”

Another motorist, Mr Ndabezinhle Khumalo, said they were now forced to divert from the tarmac and using a dirty dirst-road stretch to avoid the potholes.

“The Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road is a major highway and it needs to be kept in a good state,” he said.

Ms Alice Moyo, a cross-border trader, said it had become a nightmare to use the road. She implored Government to continuously attend to major roads.

“There is a need for continued maintenance of roads especially the Bulawayo- Beitbridge road as it supports economic activities. Government should attend to these roads before they are completely damaged,” he said.

Matabeleland South provincial roads Engineer Mangisi Nkomo said while Government is focusing on reconstructing 25 km, the coverage is likely to increase as the project continues.

“Reconstruction is underway from the 221 km to the 229 km peg around Makhado area. Pothole patching is ongoing in various sections along the road. From there, reconstruction will also be done from the 268km to 278km peg around Mazunga area, and then from the 5km to 10km peg in Bulawayo which covers the area from Ascot up to around Nust area,” he said.

Under the Second Republic Government is committed to rehabilitating the road network as infrastructural development is key to attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

Government declared the state of roads infrastructure in the country a state of emergency following heavy rains and has been rehabilitating the road network through the ERRP2 which is set to be succeeded by the Road Development Programme with the aim of developing the country’s roads to meet world-class standards in line with Vision 2030.

Government has so far expressed satisfaction with the work that is being done under the ERRP2 and urged the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) to prioritise funding of some roads under the same programme.