The Government has spent more than $30 billion on funding the reconstruction of over 260km of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, while an additional $1,3 billion has been directed towards the rehabilitation of dozens of major roads in the country’s urban centres.
The completed sections of one of the busiest trunk roads in the region have now been opened to traffic.
Currently, restoration work is ongoing on 63 major roads in 17 cities and towns with 55,2km of roads having already undergone reconstruction. A further 37,4km have been resealed while 10,8km have had asphalt overlaid countrywide.
The Government this year took over 700km of roads from urban local authorities, which will undergo rehabilitation over a period of 36 months under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP). The road rehabilitation project is among pledges made by ZANU PF in its 2018 Election Manifesto and progress made so far is in fulfilment of the promise.
Transport and Infrastructural Development secretary, Engineer Theodius Chinyanga, said work on urban roads will mainly cover pothole patching and resurfacing.
“Government took over roads in urban areas for the purposes of periodic maintenance, that is reseals, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” said Eng Chinyanga.
“The progress to date stands at 55,2km rehabilitated, reconstructed, 37,4km resealed and 10,8km asphalt overlaid. Total funding that has been committed by Government under this programme on urban council roads is approximately $1,3 billion. There are, however, commitments that are currently tied up in circulation and are yet to be honoured.”
Of the five companies contracted to rehabilitate the Harare-Beitbridge Highway, Bitumen World and Fossil Contracting have completed work covering 60km each, while Masimba Construction has rehabilitated 49,2km.
Work by Tensor Systems has covered 46,2km while Exodus and Company have reconstructed a 38km stretch.
The Department of Roads under the Ministry of Transport has completed work on a 7,2km portion of the highway.
Said Eng Chinyanga: “In addition, a total of 260,6km has been opened to traffic, while works on other sections are at various stages. The expenditure on the Harare-Beitbridge Road to date stands at $30 billion.”
Completion of the entire road is expected next year, opening up vast economic opportunities enhancing intra-Africa trade under the North-South corridor.
In Harare, the Government is set to finance the maintenance of 33 roads covering 249,8km. In Bulawayo province, 16 roads covering a total of 61,8km are being patched and resurfaced. In Manicaland province, nine roads covering 24,3 km in Mutare, Rusape and Chipinge are being rehabilitated.
The Government will rehabilitate 74,4 km in Mashonaland East while in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West, 11,7km and 83km stretches of roads will be refurbished respectively.
A combined total of 124km is being resurfaced in Gweru, Kwekwe, Zvishavane, Gokwe and Redcliff in the Midlands province.
Under the programme, 2 864km of road network has been re-gravelled, while an additional 16 697km has been graded mostly in rural areas.