COMMENT: Road rehab is what the doctor ordered

Source: COMMENT: Road rehab is what the doctor ordered | The Sunday News

COMMENT: Road rehab is what the doctor ordered

THE Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) launched by Government has impacted positively on the country’s road network.

The programme was introduced after Government realised that the country’s roads were in a bad state, with local authorities failing to maintain or repair them after heavy rains this season, and neglect over the years.

The government budgeted $33.6bn for the second phase and Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has already disbursed $2.3bn as the government intensifies efforts to rehabilitate the country’s road network. According to Zinara spokesperson, Mr Tendai Mugabe a good road network is vital if the country is to realise Vision 2030.

“So far, we have disbursed $2.3bn for road works that include ERRP and periodic and routine road maintenance since the beginning of the year. Under ERRP, we have disbursed advance payments to all road authorities and road works have already started in earnest in all provinces.

This (ERRP) is a special project being championed by Government following a public outcry on the state of roads that were heavily damaged by heavy rains received in most parts of the country during the just ended rainfall season. President Mnangagwa heeded the public outcry and declared all roads a state of national disaster paving way for the launch of the ERRP2,” he said.

Under ERRP2, the government is targeting to rehabilitate 10 000km of roads countrywide. The rehabilitation and modernisation of the country’s road infrastructure so far have seen the opening of more than 160km to traffic on the Harare-Beitbridge road and the refurbishment of the Karoi-Binga road among other roads.

The development of the transport road network plays an important role in the economic development of a country and, therefore, the kilometre-age of paved roads existing in a country is often used as an index to assess the extent of its development.

The proper development of the transport road network not only reduces the cost of transportation, both in terms of money and time, but also helps in the integration of various regions within the country and the better understanding of neighbouring countries at the international level (Aldagheiri, 2021).

There is no doubt that roads make a crucial contribution to economic development and growth and bring important social benefits. Experts say they are of vital importance in order to make a nation grow and develop. In addition, providing access to employment, social, health and education services makes a road network crucial in fighting against poverty. Roads open up more areas and stimulate economic and social development. For those reasons, road infrastructure  is the most important of all public assets.

The country’s economic blueprint, National Development Strategy 1, adds that improved road transport services are critical in improving accessibility, facilitating both domestic, regional and international trade through facilitating the movement of goods and people.

“The poor condition of a large part of our road network has had direct and indirect impacts on the road transport safety. The average number of accidents per year between 2010 and 2017 was 36,105 and the average number of people dying as a result of road accidents was 1,836. In 2016, the total number of accidents were 38,620 increasing to 42,430 in 2017. Similarly, the number of fatal accidents also increased from 507 in 2016 to 1,358 in 2017.”

The objective during the NDS1 Period is to achieve high quality and efficient public transport services covering both the rural and urban areas. The target will be to reduce road accidents and fatalities by 25% margin per annum.