The new political dispensation has prioritised the construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of roads and bridges throughout the country, with road authorities having to go on overdrive after receiving unprecedented budgetary allocations.
As part of its “deliverables” under the party’s election manifesto, Zanu-PF promises to “rehabilitate all roads in towns and major cities to world class standards. Rehabilitate (the) rail network system, including around industrial areas.”
The party also outlines its plan to re-route all roads in major towns in conformity with a new national transport setup and rehabilitate ancillary transport infrastructure including road signs, traffic lights, street lighting, storm water drainage systems including creating and maintaining servitude lanes/areas as necessary. The programme is being co-ordinated through a Project Steering Committee (PSC), which provides policy guidance.
According to our provincial bureaus, tangible change can be seen on the country’s major roads as well as truck routes.
The new political dispensation’s thrust for Zimbabwe to have a well-developed, trafficable and safe roads has seen the rehabilitation of major roads in Harare which had been rendered untrafficable due to years of neglect by the MDC-T led council.
Phase II of the Government’s Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) is already underway, which according to the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) focuses on major rehabilitation works, reconstruction of damaged bridges, including preventive periodic maintenance works and rehabilitation of failed sections of the road net- work.
The Project Steering Committee, which is chaired by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, also comprises of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing; and the District Development Fund (DDF).
In a State of the City Address recently, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni hailed the road rehabilitation under the emergency fund from Government saying the was starting to undertake some meaningful road rehabilitation works.
“A total of $ 17 million has been pledged and over $12 million has been disbursed to the City,” he said.
“To date, over 400km of roads have been fixed of potholes and rehabilitated, patching of 325km has been done.”
Some of the roads that have been completed or are still being repaired include Bishop Gaul Avenue, Gletwin Road, Waterfalls Avenue, George Drive, Harare Drive, Aspindale and Highglen roads.
Under the programme, Harare’s priority has been on arterial roads, while access roads are also being rehabilitated.
In the Midlands, provincial and district heads have commended the new Government administration for bringing in tangible change which has seen an improved infrastructure development in the province.
In separate interviews, district and provincial heads said the province was taking a major facelift in terms of development in the short period that the new Government has been in place.
Midlands Provincial Roads Engineer, Eng Stephen Kamutema said the province has so far repaired roads and damaged bridges, some of which had been lying unattended for years.
He said one of the major bridges that the province has since completed with support and funding from the new administration was the Mwenezi Bridge in Mberengwa that had cut connection between Mberengwa and West Nicholson.
“With support and funding from the new Government administration, we have also repaired the famous Gokwe gully that had become a menace cutting off Gokwe Town from most of the Gokwe South districts.
“Apart from adhering to our routine roads maintenance work, we have also completed some major road maintenance like the Gokwe-Siyabuwa Road, we have managed to maintain that road and connect it with Matabeleland North.
“We have also maintained the 133 km Gokwe-Choda road and roped in the services of the community there to clear the bushy road sides. Approximately we have used over $7 million on roads and bridge repairs in the province so far and with the support from Government, we have lined up more roads project in the province,” he said.
At least 1 000km of Mashonaland Central’s road network has been rehabilitated and maintained as part of the 100-day targets that were set by President Mnangagwa when he assumed power in November last year.
In an interview, Mashonaland Central Provincial Administrator, Mr Cosmas Chiringa said local authorities alone rehabilitated and maintained over 400km of the province’s road network including resurfacing and resealing at a cost of more than $1 million, while the District Development Fund rehabilitated and maintained more than 600km at a cost of more than US$400 000.
“At least 1 000km of road network has been rehabilitated and maintained at a cost of $1.4 million in Mashonaland Central during the 100-day targets that were set by President Mnangagwa when he assumed power in November last year,” he said.
“Guruve Rural District Council gravelled 20km of the Nyavhuti-Dunavert-Penrose Road at a cost of $98 000, 10km of motorised grading at the Horseshoe Club Road at a cost of $25 000, resealing of Guruve Growth Point at a cost of $102 000.
“Chaminuka Rural District Council managed to tar the 4km Tipperary Road at a cost of $100 000, while Bindura Rural District Council maintained about 100km of road network at a cost of $80 000, Rushinga spent $232 930 on gravelling their roads, Muzarabani District Council spent $33 000 on maintaining Aurelia Road.”
He added: “Mazowe Rural District Council resealed and resurfaced 6.5km of roads in Glendale and Concession at a total cost of $210 000, while Pfura Rural District Council rehabilitated and maintained roads in six wards at a cost of $430 000.”
Government has also accelerated road construction and maintenance works in Mashonaland West province.
The projects in the province include some parts along the Harare-Gweru and Harare-Chirundu dualisation projects that received a major boost from President Mnangagwa’s administration after Operation Restore Legacy.
At least 9km has been constructed with only surfacing remaining on the 10km stretch along the Harare-Gweru Highway dualisation projects starting from Norton.
Other projects include resurfacing of sections of the Harare-Chirundu Highway starting from Mt Hampden while feasibility studies have been carried out for the Makuti-Chirundu stretch.
The project will involve widening of a 15km stretch that includes the dangerous Wafa Wafa steep and winding section.
In an interview, Mashonaland West provincial roads engineer Mr Finale Mapurisa, however, said progress had been hampered by the shortage of heavy equipment such as dozers.
Among the projects that have been delayed include the Alaska-Copper Queen road.
“Government has been quick to release funds for projects than ever before and that ensures that work is done in the shortest possible time,” he said.
“We have covered significant ground so far and we believe all projects earmarked for this year will be completed in time.”
Government has so far released more than $8 million for the 10km stretch between Karina and the Norton Tollgate against a budgeted $12,8 million for the project this year.
The road network across Masvingo is set for massive transformation with most roads in both urban and rural areas undergoing rehabilitation after Government availed funding.
Most roads across the province were in a bad state owing to years of neglect but the fate of the roads has since changed with the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa availing more resources for roads upgrade.
In Masvingo district the Masvingo-Zimuto road in undergoing rehabilitation together with the Masvingo-Chatikobo road that was in a bad shape forcing transporters to shun the route.
Roads in Masvingo Urban are also being rehabilitated in $1,4 million project jointly funded by council and Zinara.
In Mwenezi the District Development Fund is spearheading the road upgrade project with the Rutenga-Chingwizi road currently under rehabilitation.
Mwenezi Rural District Council chair Mr Albert Chivanga applauded Government for assisting in rehabilitation of key roads across the district.
“DDF is currently working on the Route ga-Chingwizi road that was in very bad shape and other roads that link Rutenga with other areas such as Sarahuru and Maranda. We expect more funding for roads from Zinara,” he said.
In Bikita the Makuvaza-Mashoko highway that was a nightmare for motorists is undergoing rehabilitation in a move that will bring relief to thousands of villagers in Matsvange, Nyahunda and Chiremwaremwa.
The road network in Chiredzi is also being overhauled with Chiredzi Town council secretary Mr Charles Muchatukwa saying their main project was the ongoing rehabilitation of Chiredzi-Hippo Valley Road which is being resealed.
In Matabeleland North province, Government has started rehabilitating some roads after Treasury released funding.
Provincial roads engineer Joseph Makokove said each of the major roads was allocated separate funding from Treasury under the road development programme.
Eng Makokove said a 10km stretch on the Kamativi-Binga road has been rehabilitated under the new dispensation while the Hwange Main Camp access road and Joshua Mqabuko International Airport access road have also been rehabilitated.
Work is underway on the Lupane access road which branches from the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway into Lupane centre and it is 90 percent complete, said Eng Makokove.
Rehabilitation of the Bulawayo-Solusi road is also ongoing with 20 percent work done while building of Ingwigwisi Bridge on the Bulawayo-Nkayi road has also started following the visit by President Mnangagwa recently.
Over the years motorists using the Bulawayo-Nkayi road failed to cross the bridge during the rainy season while the road is also in a sorry state.
Upgrading of Bulawayo-Nkayi road is key to development of Matabeleland North as it connects with Gokwe and Kwekwe.
Eng Makokove said: “Work on the Bulawayo-Nkayi road has started. Treasury released funds enough to do 6km and work is now underway while more finances have been promised. The main objective is to upgrade the road up to Nkayi and proceed to Gokwe.”
Other projects currently underway are the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho strip which is going to be upgraded and Eng Makokove said documents are being worked on for the project.
There is also the Lupane-Nkayi-Kwekwe road, also known as fighting road which if upgraded, will reduce the distance between Harare and Victoria Falls.
Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) chief executive Mr Thomas Sakala last week told engineers at a conference in Victoria Falls that the bank was considering partnering government for rehabilitation of the road.
Eng Makokove said plans are already underway to construct Tohwe River Bridge in Lupane, upgrade Binga-Sengwa, Siabuwa-Mujere and Kana-Gwelutshena roads as well as rehabilitate critical sections of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway especially around Gwayi area ahead of the major dualisation project which government is working on.
Dennis Mapfurira, the Matabeleland South provincial roads engineer, said the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme had created 534 jobs in the province.
He said the 60km Gwanda-Maphisa road had received $5 million while Maphisa-Mpoengs had received $7 million. Old Gwanda Road has also been re-gravelled for 50km up to Maphisa Mission.
“In terms of funding, we have seen a big improvement since 2016 backwards,” Eng Mapfurira said.