Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has commended the progress which has been covered on the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road rehabilitation exercise under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).
The Bulawayo-Nkayi Road had become untrafficable and a death trap. Speaking during the tour of parts of the road yesterday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Deputy Minister Mike Madiro said the purpose of the visit was to inspect the progress that had been done.
“Our purpose of visiting is to physically inspect the progress which has been covered so far in terms of the implementation of the emergency road rehabilitation programme. You are aware that the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Felix Mhona came here three months ago where he met the stakeholders particularly the chiefs. This road was really bad when he came, so he promised that Government was going to intervene to make sure that the road is navigable,” said Deputy Minister Madiro.
Deputy Minister Madiro commended the companies which are undertaking the rehabilitation exercise and said they were doing a splendid job, with the progress showing tremendous results.
“They are expecting the next phases to be undertaken so as to plug this very important economic hub that is from the 65km peg back to cover about 14km to make sure that it is resurfaced. There are mines, agricultural and economic activities happening in this area, hence this road is key in terms of facilitating economic developments,” he said.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said they were grateful to the Government for the great work that was being done.
“Minister Mhona was here just three months ago and we had a meeting with stakeholders, Nkayi chiefs, and he promised the rehabilitation works were to start soon. Now as you can see Phase 1 of cutting of trees by the road sideways, resurfacing and grading has been done and cars can now travel very well.”
Minister Moyo said for Phase 2 they were looking at the budget that was put at $350 million and were anticipating that towards the end of the year they will start tarring the road. He said the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road was also allocated $350 million but they were in the process of allocating contracts to contractors.
Matabeleland North Provincial Road Engineer, Stephen Kamutema said during Phase 1 of the emergency work they have covered pothole patching, bush clearing and grass cutting. He said they were now moving to Phase 2 and 3 which were the capital projects and they are set to connect the two bridges construction along the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road.
“In the province we have 22 projects and we are doing repair works in the 22 districts. Most of the areas such as Kamativi to Binga road works have been done as well as other parts of the province,” he said.
The road rehabilitation programme is said to have created at least 20 000 jobs and contributed to improved economic activities in the construction sector.