Blessings Chidakwa and Victor Maphosa
Work on major road projects under the Second Republic is continuing, even during the rains, as the Government modernises road infrastructure, with construction of an additional Norton tollgate now underway along the country’s busy Harare-Bulawayo highway.
Dualisation of the Harare-Mutare highway is also now in its next stage with the 6km stretch from Melfort set to be completed by mid-February after the Government released US$5 million for the latest phase of the project.
The dualisation of the major east-west highway from Plumtree to Mutare is seen as a continuous programme that first has seen the existing highway brought up to modern standards, often requiring extensive reconstruction, and then the second carriageway done in sections, starting with the busiest sections.
But away from these critical highways there are many more roads that need rehabilitation and work is in progress and on course on several roads, including the Murewa-Madicheche and Murewa-Musami roads.
The Norton tollgate now needs to be doubled, with one on each carriageway, as the dualisation of the Harare-Bulawayo Road reaches this point.
Yesterday Government employees were constructing the tollgate, with foundation works for the reinforced concrete pillars being erected.
While the rains partly disturbed the workers around noon, our crew observed that two of the four concrete bases were already erected while work was ongoing on erection of the two others.
Department of Roads Chief Director Engineer Amos Amos said the Government was moving forward on the needed work.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Harare-Mutare highway rehabilitation monitoring and evaluation process at Melfort recently, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said road works were continuing, not only on the major highways but on other roads, giving examples for Mashonaland East. Many of these roads are the vital links that connect the arterial national highways.
“What is of great importance is the other roads of significance in this province. We are talking of Murewa-Musami, which is one of the major roads that links Murewa and Marondera. Next week my team will be on the ground where we will be rehabilitating the road.
“Not only that, we have Murewa-Madicheche which has been abandoned as well and we are resuming works. Those who know and have been following the issue of Rwenya Bridge, where we have actually awarded a tender to a local contractor but he failed and we have to retender,” Minister Mhona said.
Minister Mhona said he was glad to announce that the contractor is now mobilising resources and is on site.
“We will see the reconstruction of the Rwenya Bridge. So I want to give special thanks to the Second Republic. We are not just talking but we are following the footsteps of President Mnangagwa that we must be at work and move with speed to complete the projects,” he said.
Murewa-Madicheche road is pivotal economically, as it connects Maramba Pfungwe in Mashonaland East Province and Rushinga in Mashonaland Central Province.
The Murewa-Musami road connects Marondera and Murewa and its completion will enhance economic development for the two centres and towns in between while the completion of reconstruction of Rwenya Bridge will connect Manicaland and Mashonaland East through Nyamapanda.
The 800-metre bridge was destroyed by floods more than a decade ago, hence its completion will bring hope
to the people of Nyanga North and beyond for important communications.
A Government report shows that half of the present batch of targeted work has been completed across the country so far, as road authorities have gravelled 70 percent of the targeted 16 284km network, and 70 percent of 556km drainage structure repairs and construction.
Meanwhile, Mashonaland East Provincial Roads Engineer Martha Ndoro said they were concerned with a surge in accidents which were occurring on the stretch near Surrey Business Centre along the Harare-Mutare Road.
The stretch has seen a number of people dying in fatal road accidents. Urgent plans are being implemented to restrict speeds on the section.
Eng Ndoro recently speaking to the media while assessing the stretch together with Minister Mhona and officials from the ministry, said some speed controlling devices should be put as a matter of urgency, as a measure aimed at reducing accidents.
As roads get busier there will be more accidents, even if the number of accidents for every 1 000km travelled is falling, and this has seen everyone concerned pushing hard for drivers to be more careful.
The upgrade of highways contributes as well, since traffic can flow easier and faster.