THE Austrian firm which won the tender to dualize the Harare-Beitbridge road will commence work early next year following the signing of an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with the Zimbabwe government on Wednesday.
Geiger International will construct the Beitbridge-Harare segment of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway at a cost of $984 million under a 25 year Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) model.
The project is expected to take up to 3 years to complete. The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway is Zimbabwe’s busiest and is the gateway to neighboring countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Malawi.
Work on the highway was stalled by court processes in 2013 after the initial winner of the tender, Zimhighways, took the government to court for breach of contract.
The court case was, however, withdrawn leading to the submission of fresh bids for the mega project.
At the signing ceremony, Minister of transport Joram Gumbo said given Zimbabwe’s strategic location as a potential transport hub in the SADC region; government’s strategy is to open the major regional trade
Under the agreement at least 40 percent of the value of the project will be subcontracted to Zimbabwean companies.
The scope of the work covered by this cost includes the full dualisation of the road, including the widening and rehabilitation of the existing road. Also included is the cost of construction of 37 new two lane bridges and 8 tollgates.
“Government’s strategy is to open the major regional trade corridors. In this regard we started with the Plumtree Harare Mutare Road at a cost of $206 million. This road traverses eight of the ten provinces in the country. I’m am pleased to note that this project has been completed except for some snags which are being attended to,” he said.
The Harare-Chirundu segment of the highway is expected to be constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company under a loan financing model. Gumbo said the Chinese delegation was expected to fly in the county before year end for the signing agreements.’
“The EPC contract has now been approved by government and we expect a Chinese delegation from CHEC to fly into the country before the end of the year for the signing ceremony of that portion of the road. Thereafter full negotiations will be opened with the financing partner in China and the loan agreement should be concluded by year 2017.,” he said. FinX