Harare Drive, the ring road planned for the city decades ago, will soon be completed with a Chinese company contracted by Government now carrying out an environmental impact assessment for the southern half of the highway with construction expected to start this year. The southern half will be a four-lane highway, a considerable improvement on the existing northern half, and will ease a great deal of congestion in southern Harare.
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Harare City Council entered into a partnership agreement with China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) for the construction of the Harare Drive South Ring Road.
The road starts at Kirkman Road/Harare Drive which is southwest of Warren Hills Golf Club continuing southeast passing National Sports Stadium, Belvedere West, Rugare, Southerton, Houghton Park, Waterfalls SOS Village, Mainway Meadows, Logan Park, Hatfield, Epworth, Zimphos/Msasa Park, Msasa Industrial area and finally connects at the Mutare Road/Harare Drive roundabout.
In a statement, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing said CCCC engaged a local consultancy firm of experts, Qutrun Investments, to carry out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the ring road construction project.
“The project involves the construction of a 27,1km stretch of tarred road consisting of four lanes at a total width of 31m, six underpasses, seven bridges and two vehicle bridges.
“Activities of the project will involve clearing, grubbing, tree removal construction of intersections, interchanges, sidewalks, bridges and highway signs among others,” read part of the statement.
“In line with legal requirements and best practices for such projects Outrun and CCCC are now inviting stakeholder comments to the proposed project.”
Two meetings have been scheduled for next week.
The ring road is one of the measures taken by Government to decongest the CBD which are contained in the National Transport Policy and are expected to be implemented over the next two years.
Under the new arrangement, high-volume buses operated by a limited number of private players will replace commuter omnibuses. The operators, who will be identified by Government, are expected to service designated routes. One such operator, Metro Buses, has already been commissioned to participate in a pilot project of the new system.
CCCC is a Chinese state-owned company. In 2012, the company signed a $1,5 billion railway agreement with Ethiopia to build a new railway line in the northern part of that country.
The northern half of Harare Drive, a two-lane highway, was built from the 1950s to the 1980s, running from Mutare Road past Greendale, Highlands, Borrowdale, Mount Pleasant, Marlborough and Mabelreign to Kirkman Road, and although a couple of stages still need to be fully upgraded, a lot of inter-suburban traffic in the north of the city has been diverted from the city centre.