Gwanda-Beitbridge highway rehabilitation to start by year end
THE rehabilitation of the 193 kilometre stretch of the Gwanda –Beitbridge highway is expected to commence before the end of the year. The project will cost about $46 million. The feasibility studies and designs are expected to be complete before the end of the year paving way for construction.
Government is moving to rehabilitate the road, which is the second busiest in the country after the Beitbridge- Chirundu Road.
Comesa, through the African Development Bank, has released about $1,4 million for the feasibility studies.
Engineer Bernard Musarurwa of Cascade Civil Engineering told participants at a consultative meeting held in Gwanda with ICT Consultancy of Zambia which was contracted to do the Environment and Social Impact Assessment for the project, that the work would be completed in about two years.
“The studies will end around September and October and handed over to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for approval.
“So far we have done most of the feasibility studies and topography of the road. We have discovered that out of the whole stretch, 151 kilometres need to be resurfaced while 42 kilometres are to be reconstructed by ripping off the existing tarmac and start afresh,” said Eng Musarurwa.
“After we have handed over our studies, the government will look for donors or partners to construct the road. It will take less than two years to complete it if everything is made available. However, let me hasten to say at the moment there is no indication that the donors or partners are already there as we are still to finish the reports,” he said.
Eng Musarurwa said if the road is rehabilitated it would have a lifespan of over 20 years.
“If we construct the road it will work very well for the next five to eight years before it needs to be resurfaced again. The lifespan of the road is about 20 years. The work we are doing is backlog maintenance which was supposed to have been done a long time ago as this road was constructed in the 1960s,” said Eng Musarurwa.
Government has plans to dualise the Beitbridge – Victoria Falls road to ease movement of traffic into Southern Africa.