Govt surpasses Zim-Asset road rehab target Dr Gumbo
Dr Gumbo

Dr Gumbo

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Government has rehabilitated more than 70 000 km of roads in rural and resettlement areas, thereby surpassing targets set in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) economic blueprint, ahead of the 2018 deadline.

This is against a target of 4 000 km set in 2013, when the economic blueprint was launched to improve on this key indicator for economic growth and development.

The target was based on projections tied to the inefficient and antiquated national road maintenance equipment.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo, recently hailed the move by Government to source graders for road authorities as they were key in improving output.

“I am pleased to report that cumulatively, we have managed to grade more than 70 000 km since 2013 to massively surpass the targets given under the infrastructure and utilities cluster of the Zim-Asset economic blueprint,” said Dr Gumbo.

Government secured 80 graders in 2013, which have proved to be the tonic for road maintenance as more than half of the country’s roads, particularly rural ones have been graded.

The country has a road network of about 90 000km, with the largest portion being rural gravel roads, which had deteriorated due to irregular maintenance and rehabilitation.

In a bid to fully appreciate the state of the country’s roads, zinara embarked on the Road Condition Survey whose results are expected to be ready by the end of February.

The survey was financed to the tune of $1,7 million and it will establish the actual size of the road network and the cost of upgrading and rehabilitating them.

Estimates put the cost of upgrading and rehabilitating the road network at around $5 billion and the process is expected to address historical inequalities between rural and urban roads.

Tied to that has been the directive by Government compelling road authorities to channel 70 percent of their allocation towards periodic maintenance, which includes regrading, gravelling and tarring of roads. This is expected to ensure rural gravel roads are progressively tarred.

Dr Gumbo called on zinara to improve the response time to breakdown of the graders.

This followed concerns raised by Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire, who said efforts to improve the state of roads in rural areas was being hampered by failure to attend to breakdowns on time.

“We came up with a cluster based road rehabilitation programme to cover as much ground as possible, but zinara was taking too long to attend to breakdowns,” he said.

In response, Dr Gumbo said road authorities should ensure maximum utilisation of the graders.

He said the current economic climate required road authorities, especially councils to embrace home-grown solutions including engaging in Public-Private-Partnerships.

Dr Gumbo also emphasised the need for road authorities to work together and pool resources to ensure equipment was fully utilised.

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