Source: Dualisation open to Zim contractors | The Herald April 2, 2019
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Government has divided the dualisation of Harare-Beitbridge highway into nine sections to be constructed by local companies and last week opened a third 10km detour in Masvingo as construction work gathers pace, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza has said.
He said the Government was seeking partners for the dualisation of the stretch between Harare and Chirundu which also covered the Harare ring road project.
The first two detours to be opened along the Harare-Beitbridge highway are in Beatrice and Chivhu where the road is being widened and dualised.
Minister Matiza said Government had so far spent over $42 million on the road, which is one of the country’s busiest highways.
“We have opened a third detour in Masvingo heading towards Beitbridge,” Minister Matiza said.
“Our surveyors and engineers are already on the ground and all these works are being done by local people. We are now finalising securing of local engineers after which we get the contractors. We are dividing the road into nine sections which will be worked on by local contractors.”
He said a Chinese company called AFEC was seconded for development works on the Harare-Chirundu stretch, but was yet to show the Government proof of funding.
“There is AFEC which we have seconded, but they are still to come up with proof of funding and once they have done that, there is another part of the road which is the Harare-Chirundu stretch,” he said.
“We are widening and dualising just before the towns and 10km after the towns, that is Phase One. If AFEC comes with the money, they will do Phase Two which is the stretch to Chirundu. We will continue doing the work until we get partners to take over.”
The contract to dualise the entire Beitbridge-Chirundu highway was initially awarded to a company called Geiger in the first republic.
Geiger failed to develop the project for two years, forcing the Government under President Mnangagwa who is results-oriented to cancel the tender.
According to the 2019 Infrastructure Plan released by Treasury last year, the rehabilitation of roads through private-public partnerships has been difficult, hence the switch to seek financing from the domestic market.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi said road infrastructure was at the epicentre of the country’s economy, hence the need to urgently rehabilitate the country’s roads.
“We are working passionately to ensure that we provide transmission mechanism for the economy in terms of goods and services.
“Without roads we cannot achieve the 2030 vision, but we are also looking at critical rural road infrastructure which has not received sufficient attention in years.
“In fact, it has been relegated to rural district councils. We are interested in ensuring that there is an improvement in that area because vehicle population in the rural areas has improved both private cars and heavy vehicles. We want to give the necessary support to rural communities.”