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Emergency roads rehab starts ko Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
11 May 2021 at 06:37hrs | Views
THE first phase of roadworks in Bulawayo under the Government-funded US$400 million Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) recently launched by President Mnangagwa, has started.

Bulawayo was allocated more than $625 million for the rehabilitation of its estimated road network covering 2 460km. The city was also this year allocated an additional $15 million by the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) for routine roadworks.

Under the first phase of the programme, the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) has already started rehabilitating Siyepambili Drive covering a 16,3km stretch from Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road turn-off to the Bulawayo-Plumtree Road in Belmont and various sections along 4th Avenue and 8th Avenue, Fife, Samuel Parirenyatwa, Lobengula and Herbert Chitepo streets and Matopos Road.

Bulawayo City Council corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the first phase of road rehabilitation under ERRP started on April 14 and expected to be completed by July 16, 2021.

"Once completed these works will prolong the life of the carriageway, improve road safety and ride quality. The works will be carried out in phases and will involve resurfacing works, reinstating carriageway markings, rehabilitation of street lights and other general maintenance works," she said.

Mrs Mpofu said for council to improve the state of its roads in the next five years, a minimum of US$15 million per year is required. She said under their 2021 capital projects, they are prioritising roads.

"From our ZINARA allocation, council is reconstructing and resealing 6,5 km along Siyephambili Drive between Luveve road-Victoria Falls road and 5,4km on the Matopos road between 23rd Avenue.

"The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development is also working with us as the implementing agent is carrying out the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme in accordance with Statutory Instrument 47 of 2021 (Declaration of State of Disaster, Road Infrastructure Network), which is funded by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Zinara," she said.

Mrs Mpofu said there are other ongoing roads rehabilitation works within the city, which the council is implementing as part of efforts improve the state of the roads.

"The city recently received $15, 436,055 from Zinara for the first quarter for routine road maintenance. The disbursed funds are expected to produce at least 400 tonnes of premix which will be utilised within the next six to seven weeks," she said.

"The disbursement is quarterly for routine maintenance while for periodic maintenance, that is overlay, reconstruction works are paid after the work has been carried out."

She said council requires about US$700 million to improve the state of its roads in the next five years.

A news crew yesterday visited one of the sites along Masiyephambili Drive and observed workers contracted by CMED filling up potholes. Some lanes had been temporarily blocked as workers were busy compacting surfaces ahead of resealing.

The news crew caught up with some motorists driving along Masiyephambili Drive and most of them could not hide their excitement upon noticing the road being rehabilitated.

Mr Mthokozisi Mlotshwa, a kombi driver plying the Bulawayo-Binga route was all smiles as he spoke to the news crew.

"This is a good move by Government because these potholes were causing accidents. I use this road (Masiyephambili Dive) almost every day from Emakhandeni," he said.

Another motorist, Mr Mandlenkosi Khumalo commended the Government for intervening.

"The rehabilitation of the road will reduce accidents and mechanical damage on vehicles and this is an exciting development. Last year, my friend who was driving from Bulawayo to Lupane was involved in a head on collision after encroaching onto the lane of oncoming traffic while trying to avoid a pothole," he said.

Ms Nothando Dube said most of the roads were barely trafficable due to potholes and applauded Government for prioritising the rehabilitation of roads.

Cabinet recently declared the country's road network a state of disaster as most of the roads have become untrafficable due to ageing and damage by heavy rains that were received during the past summer season. Some of the roads like feeder roads in the country are administered by local authorities while the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and District Development Fund share main roads, both tarred and gravel.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Permanent Secretary Engineer Theodius Chinyanga said Government is committed to speeding up the rehabilitation of roads countrywide under the ERRP.

"An equivalent of US$400 million has been set aside for the rehabilitation of roads in all provinces. The national program is already underway, and in Bulawayo, they received premix last week on Thursday hence you will see a lot of activity on pothole patching," he said.

According to the timelines set for this year, 840km of roads across the country will be rehabilitated and reconstructed, while 8 340km will be re-gravelled with 17 093km of road network set to be regraded.

The Government will reseal 1 290km of roads, reconstruct 427 drainage structures and work on 24 830km of erosion works and drains across the country. Under its Infrastructure, Utilities and Digital Economy cluster, the National Development Strategy 1 prioritises completion of road rehabilitation.

Source - chronicle