33km Christmas Pass by-pass road to help curb accidents Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter

The 33km Christmas Pass by-pass road in Mutare is now being planned by Government as the Second Republic continues to prioritise national transport infrastructure for economic growth, with more major roads across the country having been lined up for rehabilitation under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase 2 (ERRP2).

Significant progress in the rehabilitation of a number of roads across the country has been made, to ensure they are usable.

On the Christmas Pass by-pass road, the establishment comes following endless accidents at the area. Barely a week passes by without an accident being recorded at Christmas Pass, with some of them being fatal. In some of the cases, goods worth thousands of dollars are damaged.

In an interview, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa was not leaving anyone behind in terms of development and that under ERRP2, they were prioritising reconstruction of roads in both rural and urban areas.

He said they will soon start with the reconstruction of the Harare-Domboshava Road and the Harare-Bindura Road while the Harare-Arcturus Road is still at the tender stage.

From February 13, they will begin work on the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls, Bulawayo-Nkayi, Karoi-Binga, Golden Valley-Sanyati, Gwanda-Mapisa and the Birchenough-Buhera roads.

“We are also going to establish the 33km Christmas Pass by-pass road in that area so that motorists especially truck drivers will not pass through Christmas Pass area,” he said.

Minister Mhona said they were seized with other roads that have been a topical issue.

“On a broader perspective, you will see that other roads that we have in different provinces, were we are talking of a topical one, I can sight Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and we are going to be attending to the damaged sections for now while we are working on the total reconstruction of the road just the way we are doing with Harare-Beitbridge Road.

“And also on the same road to Chirundu, which is also another major concern for the citizenry, we are working on bad sections for now but we are going to be moving the teams that are working on the Harare-Beitbridge to also gravitate towards the northern section to Chirundu where we are going to reconstruct the entire road.”

He said the ministry was also modernising and reconstructing Chirundu Border Post.

“As of next week, we have flighted a number of tenders so that we will do routine maintenance of roads. You will see us dealing with a number of roads within the greater Harare and also other cities from other provinces where we are going to rehabilitate.

“And also in terms of rural roads, we are going to be fuelling rural district councils. They have got their own graders. We are going to be fuelling their tipper trucks, so we are not going to wait. We are going to execute this mandate with speed so that we maintain our rural roads as well. In terms of the local authorities, I have directed my provincial road engineers to earmark those very critical roads that require urgent attention and this is what we are doing,” Minister Mhona said.

Recently, the rehabilitation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway reached another milestone with 400km, almost 70 percent of the 580km stretch, now completed and opened to traffic while contractors are working ahead of schedule on one of the largest infrastructure developments since the advent of the Second Republic.

While there are many infrastructure development projects across the country, the rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway and modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post to bring in efficient systems aimed at reducing or eliminating delays, are the two signature projects of President Mnangagwa’s administration.

The Beitbridge Border Post has already been commissioned by the President and users of arguably the busiest land border in the SADC region commended the speed with which they were being cleared, and the ease of clearance over the festive period.

The rehabilitation, effectively the rebuilding, of the Chirundu-Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, had been mooted for a long time as the work done in the 1960s was definitely in need of being drastically improved to cope with traffic that was inconceivable then.

A foreign tender for the reconstruction was awarded to an Austrian firm, Geiger International, with a ground-breaking ceremony held in May 2017, under the First Republic, to mark the beginning of works at the cost of US$2,7 billion.

However, nothing happened on the ground. So among the early moves of the Second Republic was to cancel the foreign tender in 2018 and then engage local companies to rehabilitate the highway.

Five local companies were contracted to undertake the work: Tensor Systems, Masimba Holdings, Fossil Contracting, Exodus & Company, and Bitumen World.

The scope of the project involves dualisation, upgrading and tolling of the highway.

The entire north-south corridor has been divided into three sections: the 580km Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway together with eight toll plazas, the 342km Harare-Chirundu highway with six toll plazas, and the 59km Harare Ring Road with three toll plazas. These tolls are what pay for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the road.

Government has also come up with the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) not only to focus on major highways, but also those roads in suburbs of towns and cities that have been abandoned by opposition-run councils over the years, leaving motorists to navigate potholes and increasing the cost of owning and operating vehicles.

Over 2 000km of roads have been re-gravelled, while 6 627,9km have been graded, with 701 drainage structures constructed or repaired and 184 wash-aways reclaimed.

Across the country, 4 491,5km of drains have been opened while 6 141,2km of verges have been cleared. Progress continues to be made on the patching of potholes, with 4 794,8km of road having been attended to.

President Mnangagwa recently urged people, especially in urban areas, to vote out incompetent opposition councillors and legislators and bring in those from Zanu PF who are pushed by the party to deliver for the people.

Zanu PF, led by President Mnangagwa, has been on a drive to improve infrastructure across the country.

Dams, roads, bridges, hospitals, clinics and schools have been constructed while irrigation schemes that stopped operating many years ago, have been resuscitated by President Mnangagwa’s administration.

The President has said that with more economic activities now taking place across the country, Zimbabweans are guaranteed a massive improvement in their living standards in line with Vision 2030 of an empowered and prosperous upper middle income society.

You Might Also Like