B/bridge-Vic Falls high­way du­al­i­sa­tion work be­gins

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Richard Muponde Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent.

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

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