Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
Government has started dualising the Norton to tollgate section along the Harare-Bulawayo Road and the Goromonzi to Tollgate area along the Harare-Mutare highway. The projects will cost millions of dollars. A visit to the sites yesterday showed that a significant amount of work has already been done towards the dualisation efforts.
Gravel roads have already been opened and hardened. Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said Government opted to dualise the road through the Department of Roads.
“It is being done by the Department of Roads and money is coming from Government. Government has so far given us about $5 million for the Norton to Tollgate section through the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ),” he said.
“The total cost is $10 million. Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe is our financial advisor. For the section from Goromonzi Turn-Off along Mutare Road to the tollgate, $4,5 million has been paid so far.”
Dr Gumbo said it was the intention of Government to dualise the Harare-Mutare and Harare-Bulawayo highways, resources permitting.
“We are doing it slowly, but surely as a Government. It is not Group Five doing it. We hope that we will dualise the whole road, resources permitting. We are starting from Harare,” he said.
Group Five of South Africa upgraded the 800-kilometre Plumtree-Harare Mutare highway a few years ago. The project cost Government $206 million and was funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and executed through Infralink, a joint venture between the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration and Group Five.
Government has since blacklisted the South African company after it felt cheated by the shoddy work on the upgrading of the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare highway. There were also fears the cost of the project was inflated with the help of some corrupt Zimbabweans.