B/bridge-Vic Falls highway dualisation work begins
THE dualisation of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway is expected to commence soon as feasibility studies for the stretch from the border town to Bulawayo are now complete, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Government intends to dualise the Beitbridge-HarareChirundu road as well.
Beitbridge is the busiest inland port in the region as it is the gateway to South Africa for most countries in Sadc.
In an interview on the sidelines of the commissioning of a bridge in Umzingwane on Wednesday, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Dr Joram Gumbo said everything was going according to plan for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road.
“We did it with assistance from Comesa. The feasibilities studies are over and have been handed over. We will soon flight tenders in the newspapers seeking contractors to help us with the feasibility studies for the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls stretch. As soon as that is done documents will be tabled for consideration for the release of money and construction of the road. It’s important for our economy as heavy volumes of traffic use this road,” said Dr Gumbo.
Turning to Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu road, the Minister said the project will be ratified by Cabinet to pave way for contractors to bring equipment into the country for the commencement of the project. “As soon as we sign the concession agreement money will then be realised for the project. We have two contractors, Geiger International, an Austrian company and China Harbour from China. By the end of the month they will be bringing equipment into the country. We are anticipating that the construction of the road commences beginning of January,” said the Minister.
He said it will take two-and-a-half years to complete the 400 kilometre stretch from the Beitbridge to Harare.
“The project has been divided into segments of 100km each which will be done simultaneously. However, the stretch from Harare to Chirundu will take a bit longer as it is expected to be completed after four years. I’m however happy that we are getting 40 percent of the resources from local people. The supply of cement, quarry, and some equipment has been ringfenced for locals and that will create employment,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said there was a need to expedite the completion of these roads especially the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu one, before the country loses transit business to neighbouring countries.
“This road is important for us and the Southern African region as it is a transit road into the region.
“As Zimbabwe if we don’t construct the road we will lose business to Kazungula Border Post as our colleagues are mooting a road that passes through Botswana and into Zambia,” Dr Gumbo. — @richardmuponde.
Dr Joram Gumbo