Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
Major civil works on the $241 million modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post facilities are expected to begin next month, with the contractors indicating that they have covered a lot of ground on the pre-work logistics.
ZimBorders is carrying out the project expected to be fully implemented within three years, with initial works having begun last year.
The project’s contracts manager, Mr Herkie Sandernbergh of Raubex Construction, told Secretary for Local Government and Public Works Mr Zvinechimwe Churu during a tour of the projects on Wednesday that they were on course to complete the civil works within the deadline.
He said the modernisation programme was being rolled out in three phases — pre-commencement works (phase 1), internal border infrastructure development (phase 2) and outside border infrastructure development (phase 3).
“We have done some pre-commencement and minor works and the main civil works will start next month,” said Mr Churu.
“The initial stage was to minimise challenges of accommodating vehicle traffic during peak periods. Basically, we are separating traffics into buses, commercial, light vehicles and small commercial vehicles (“Omalayitsha”).
“Soon, we are moving from a transition stage to the upgrading of the current immigration terminal and other key infrastructure.
“We are busy working out a plan to divert traffic through the export section, so that we may can carry out civil work on the main immigration terminal.”
The official said upon completion the area will be a modern commercial hub of choice in SADC.
Mr Sandernbergh said some buildings will be demolished while others were set for upgrading to fit into the modernisation.
“We have a tight deadline of 24 months now, to complete this project and judging from the stages we have covered, we are definitely going to meet our target,” said the official.
The Herald understands that the main aim of the border post upgrading is to reduce the time people and cargo freight spend at the port of entry especially as the volume of traffic is expected to increase five-fold in the foreseeable future.
An average of 200 000 travellers, 30 000 buses, 100 000 light vehicles, 35 000 commercial trucks uses the border post monthly.
Some of the civil works which fall under the programme are the construction of more commercial customs offices, paving, and expansion of sewer and water reticulation.
Other works are: separation of traffic, construction of a commercial bridge to link with South Africa and the upgrading of Beitbridge Municipality’s key infrastructure.
President Mnangagwa laid the foundation for the project in July 2018.
The President said the initiative was in line with enhancing the ease of doing business and promoting the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra.