Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
DUALISATION of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway could soon kick off after Government last Friday invited consulting engineering firms to submit bids for the key road link between Zimbabwe and its major trading partner in the region, South Africa.
Under General Notice 236 of 2015 gazetted on Friday, Government requested for technical and financial proposals for the preliminary and detailed engineering for dualisation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway.
“The Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development intends to engage consulting engineering firms for consultancy services for the preliminary and detailed engineering design of Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge dualisation which has been segmented into four sections,” reads the notice.
The sections are Harare-Chivhu (120km), Chivhu-Masvingo (147km), Masvingo-Rutenga (149km) and Rutenga-Beitbridge (135km).
“The services included under this project are: full preliminary design for the dualisation of the road (including all bridges and drainage structures), covering technical, economic, environmental and social issues in order to provide the Department of Roads with sufficient information for decision-making on the preferred alignment and proposed dualisation of the road;” and “preparation of detailed engineering designs, drawings, cost estimates for the dualisation (including bridges and drainage structures) of this regional trunk road.”
Government invited eligible consultants to indicate their interest in providing the services.
“Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services by indicating similar assignments, experience in similar conditions, availability of appropriate skills among staff, etc using standard forms provided in the prequalification documents. Consultants could constitute joint ventures to enhance their chances of qualification,” it said.
According to the notice, a pre-bid conference is set for this Friday.
Dualisation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge road is expected to spur economic development not only in Zimbabwe but across the Sadc region. It is also expected to reduce accidents which are often blamed on the narrow state of the road, making overtaking risky on most portions of the busy highway.
The road is an important link between Zimbabwe, South Africa and other Sadc countries such as Zambia, Malawi and DRC.
Dualisation of the road has been on the cards for many years due to funding constraints.
Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Obert Mpofu was quoted in the media last year as saying President Mugabe had ordered the immediate dualisation of the road.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda was also quoted earlier this month emphasising the need to work on the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway.
According to Dr Sibanda, the dualisation of the road is among projects Government has identified under mega deals the Chinese could fund.
“We have projects in the infrastructure area to be done and these include the road system from Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare-Chirundu as well as the rehabilitation of the rail links spanning Bulawayo-through Gweru-Harare-Mutare and going as far as Mozambique,” said Dr Sibanda.