Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
GOVERNMENT plans to speed up the refurbishment of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway beginning next month, with five contractors expected to be selected in a shortened tender process.
Further, a fresh $150 million purse will be announced in a supplementary Budget soon to fund the project.
News on the project comes after Khato Civils and South Zambezi of South Africa was awarded a tender to dualise the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway by Government.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza yesterday told The Herald that they were now “speeding up the process and by mid-next month there will be five contractors on the road”.
“So there will be lots of activity. There has been $150 million, of which I think we have used about $60 million (and) we are going to have more funds in the supplementary budget which will come soon, about $150 million again.
“So the idea is that we are escalating this thing (road project). We are using our local contractors,” he said.
Eng Matiza said the local contractors are big companies “in Category A”, who have done well in previous road construction projects.
He said they intend to complete works on the 585km Harare-Beitbridge highway by 2023 since the first phase, which entails rehabilitation and widening of the existing road, does not take time.
“We will be looking at those people (contractors) and then we partition (the road). We are going through a shortened tender process so that by mid-August, we are good to go.
“We should finish by 2023 or even earlier because what we are doing is that first of all, we will start with rehabilitation and widening of the existing road so there is less work than starting a greenfield (new) road.
“That will take us a shorter time and once we are done, we can now look at the other part of dualising. The first phase will take a shorter period and we are really gunning for it now,” said Eng Matiza.
He could not be drawn into revealing the name of firms to undertake the project saying they have to go for a shortened tender process.
The widening of the Harare-Masvingo road, which has been on the cards since 2002, eventually took-off in February this year with 10km stretches in Beatrice and Chivhu.
The highway has claimed several lives including 19 people recently when a haulage truck collided head-on with a commuter kombi.
It will be widened from the current seven-metre width to Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATTC) standards of 12,5 metre width.
There will be climbing lanes where necessary.
During the first phase of the project, they would dualise 10km before and after every town to minimise congestion.