Blessings Chidakwa Herald Reporter
A US$85 million loan facility framework for funding the Mbudzi interchange flyover in southern Harare was signed yesterday, with the Government indicating that all legal property owners forced to move during construction will be compensated.
The major intersection, presently governed by a roundabout, has seen growing national and metropolitan traffic in recent years and now suffers regular jams during peak hours.
In addition to the growing volumes there is an additional problem that much of the metropolitan traffic has to go two thirds of the way around the roundabout, basically blocking those on other roads from even accessing the roundabout.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Felix Mhona signed the framework deal with Fossil Holdings chief executive Obey Chimuka at his offices in Harare, indicating that Cabinet has since approved the construction and that negotiations will be carried out for the loan facility.
Minister Mhona said the tender had been awarded to TEFOMA consortium consisting of Tensor Construction, Fossil Contracting and Masimba Holdings, all reputable local companies.
“As part of the loan facility, the financier will offer technical and construction facilities, hence a contractor, TEFOMA joint venture, will be appointed the engineering procurement and construction contractor for the project.
“As part of financial inclusion, other local contractors will be subcontracted to perform certain works. The loan facility is indicatively US$85 million,” he said.
Minister Mhona said his ministry was finalising the technical issues that include design reviews of the interchange and identification of diversion routes to be used by motorists during the construction of the interchange.
“The output will be designs and a cost estimate of the works that will be used in financial negotiations between the Ministry of Finance and the financier. Work will commence immediately after the signing of this framework agreement (signed yesterday),” he said.
“The imminent completion of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, gave priority to construction of the Mbudzi interchange so as to clear the current and foreseeable traffic congestion at the Mbudzi traffic circle.
“All affected parties will be compensated as provided for by the law and I appeal to all members of the public to be cooperative.
“In Hopley residential area, all those who were residing within the road reserve were served with notices and most have complied and started demolishing their structures and relocating,” he said.
Minister Mhona said diversion routes will be required to carry traffic during the construction of the Mbudzi interchange as the site will be closed to traffic.
“The primary diversion route will be through Stoneridge road from Boka Tobacco Sales floor, through Hopley residential area, crossing Chitungwiza Road into Forbes Avenue in Waterfalls and Malvern Road into Simon Mazorodze Road,” he said.
“Another leg of the diversion route, part of the Mbudzi Interchange permanent works, will run to existing Simon Mazorodze Road, on the western side and cater for north bound and local traffic,” he said.
At Mbudzi where the Government has now grabbed the nettle, Simon Mazorodze Road is the section of the main Harare-Beitbridge national highway running through southern Harare, so it has intercity and international traffic as well as being a main feeder road from the southern suburbs and western Chitungwiza into the city centre.
It is also the main link from these residential areas to the heavy industrial sites.
Chitungwiza Road not only links that town to the industrial areas, but is also the main feeder road for the swathe of new suburbs across Harare south that have been developed recently.
High Glen Road is the main link for the vast south-western suburbs of Harare, home to at least a quarter of the capital’s population, as well as serving the western parts of the main industrial area.
The combination of all these needs means that not only is traffic heavy, but there are high ratios of heavy trucks and buses in the traffic.
The flyover will be the second for Harare. The first was built in the 1970s at the other end of Simon Mazorodze Road where it joins Cripps Road, Abdel Gamal Nasser Road and Fidel Castro Road with a branch into Lytton Road.
In the past month or so, the Government has gone into overdrive in rehabilitating roads and infrastructure throughout the country as part of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and in line with Vision 2030, that is creating a middle income society.