The upgrading of roundabouts across Harare through construction of slip lanes is taking shape, a move that will help to reduce congestion, upgrade infrastructure and allow traffic to flow more easily under the ongoing Phase 2 of the Government Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2).
Further, the repair of bridges damaged by accidents is also starting.
By yesterday notable progress had been made on the Joshua Nkomo Road (Airport Road) and Kuwadzana roundabouts with new slip lanes that allow vehicles to turn left without even entering the traffic circle, minimising congestion for those going straight ahead or turning right.
At Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Road parts of the slip lanes being added by Leengate Contractors are now at the gravelling stages.
Roundabouts are included in the programme as they frequently need upgrade or repairs, and where in place are usually easier to repair and maintain than traffic lights. Leengate is also upgrading the Westgate roundabout.
At Kuwadzana roundabout, contractors were still working on opening the slip lane on the left side coming from the city centre.
On Tuesday, staff of the Transport and Infrastructural Development Ministry were repairing the Manyame River bridge along Seke Road. Among other bridges being repaired is the one before Zindoga shopping mall along Simon Mazorodze Road.
While accidents rarely damage the bed of a bridge, the balustrades along the sides are frequently dented, damaged or destroyed as vehicles crash into them. Beside being unsightly, such damage can reduce safety, making it harder to see bridges at night and making it easier for all vehicles and pedestrians to fall over the edge.
A motorist along Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Road, Mr Solomon Zinyanyara, was pleased with the progress on the roundabouts.
“Precious time was being lost in congestion as cars were always having to halt even when in the circle.
Another Motorist, Mrs Trish Mangwenya said the upgrades will go a long way in easing congestion. “It now makes sense to have slip lanes, as it reduces the number of vehicles that are in the traffic circle. There is no point for someone who is supposed to be turning left to first drive inside the circle, instead of just turning left and clearing the road,” she said.
A motorist along Harare-Bulawayo Highway, Mrs Patience Zisengwe ,said all roundabouts should be upgraded with slip lanes. “While this is commendable we hope the Warren Park roundabout will also be put into consideration,” she said.
Mr Tafadzwa Ndava said apart from the roundabouts Harare City Council should do more in repairing its traffic lights that were also worsening the congestion in the city. It has been noted that a roundabout costs around the same as a full set of traffic lights and that many intersections outside the city centre have room for the switch-over.
The large amount of work done under the central Government programme has seen most arterial roads now fixed in towns and cities, with work progressing on the loop roads.
In Harare, under ERRP2 several roads have been upgraded to world standard class including Seke, Boshoff and Robert Mugabe. Massive work is also being done on Masotsha Ndlovu Way in Waterfalls, Prince Edward Street and Connaught Road, one road running through Milton Park to Avondale, being upgraded as well. The Government’s thrust of modernising national transport infrastructure, is a key enabler for economic growth and development.
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-ways reclaimed.
Across the country, 4 491,5km of drains have been opened while 6 141,2km of verges have been cleared, with progress continuing to be made on the patching of potholes with a cumulative of 4 794,8km having been attended to.