Victor Maphosa in Masvingo
Long queues which are now common on most of the tollgates across the country would be a thing of the past as Government through Zimbabwe National Road Authority (ZINARA) will soon rehabilitate and construct modern tollgates, particularly on the country’s major highways.
E-tolling will drive the new infrastructure, as the road administrator strive to ensure quick paying processes at toll gates.
In the next few months, construction of the new modern Skyline tollgate will commence while another one will be constructed in Dema.
Those that will be rehabilitated to standard levels are the Norton, Esigodini, Mushagashi, Mupfurudzi and Colleen Bawn tollgates.
Speaking to the media during a tour of the tollgates along Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway yesterday, ZINARA chief executive officer Nkosinathi Ncube said the current infrastructure is now strained due to high volume of traffic.
“One of the issues about tollgates is that traffic has increased therefore the volume of cars has also increased. For instance, as a country in 2015, we had about 700 000 registered cars and now we have over 1.1 million.
“ Within a space of four years we recorded almost half a million new cars. This means the infrastructure that we have is under strain.
“ This is the same infrastructure that is servicing all these vehicles,” he said.
Mr Ncube said the biggest challenge is the payment infrastructure.
“Right now we use online payments and point of sale terminals so sixty to seventy percent of the vehicles that pass through tollgates use swipe and swiping on its own takes almost 30 seconds, and 30 seconds on highway during a busy time creates high volume and queues”
He said currently they employ more staff during busy hours to ease congestion.
Going forward, Mr Ncube said they are moving to E-Tolling.
“Our long term is to move to E-Tolling and also to improve on our infrastructure. The two critical points are that we are going to be changing some of the tollgates and put proper infrastructure, the way we have on Plumtree-Mutare highway tollgates.
“That is the type of tollgates that have been budgeted for and they will be coming up in the next few months. They will have bigger lanesand E-Tolling is going to be driving the new infrastructure going forward.”
He added that with the E-Tolling, motorists will spend less time on tollgates