Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Villagers in Chivi have welcomed the revamping of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, saying it has brought employment opportunities that have improved their livelihoods.
The villages said they managed to start other income-generating projects from the money they were earning from working on the rehabilitation of the highway.
They said this during a media tour last week organised by Exodus and Company, one of the five local companies contracted under Phase One of the rehabilitation, upgrading and widening project.
Ms Mary Mavhima said the project had brought her enormous benefits.
“I have been employed by Exodus and Company and I would like to say I have benefited a lot from what I am earning,” she said. “I am now able to pay school fees for my children and buy other basic necessities for my family.”
Ms Sandra Sibanda said the experience she gained would enable her to work in similar road projects in future.
“I have also been able to save to start income generating projects at home that have also expanded my sources of income, which has improved my life and that of my family,” she said.
Another villager, Margaret Mapinde, said the construction of the road would not only benefit the local community, but the country at large.
Speaking in an interview during the tour, Exodus and Company Site Engineer Mr Ginny Muchenje said they were on course to complete their allotted section by mid-October.
“Our stretch is unique in the sense that we are doing rehabilitation and upgrading the road, so in terms of the scope there are sections we are doing complete reconstruction to meet the design standards that have been set by the design engineers,” he said.
“We have got all the equipment and all the materials, we are on target and we expect to deliver our product by mid-October.”
The company began its work on its portion in December last year and had met challenges that include increased blasting works than earlier anticipated and removal of weak soils at a two kilometre stretch of the road.
The company expects to finish tarring of the first five kilometres by the end of this month, while the whole 20km section is expected to be completed by mid-October.
Last month, President Mnangagwa commissioned the first 32,2 km section of the road that was completed by Bitumen World in Bubi, Matabeleland South.
Other companies that have been contracted are Fossil Contracting, Masimba Contracting and Tensor Systems.