Thupeyo Muleya in Beitbridge
CIVIL works on the $241 million Beitbridge modernisation projects are underway with the contractor indicating that the project could be complete within three years.
ZimBorders is carrying out the project that is expected to run between 2019 and 2021.
The work includes the construction of more commercial customs offices, paving, and expansion of sewer and water reticulation facilities, separation of traffic into buses, light vehicles, tourists, commercial vehicles, and construction of a commercial bridge to link with South Africa as well as upgrading of Beitbridge Municipality’s key infrastructure.
President Mnangagwa laid the foundation stone for the project in July last year and said the initiative was in line with Government’s thrust to enhance the ease of doing business.
Project contact manager Mr Herkie Sandernbergh of Raubex Construction, which was subcontracted for civil works by ZimBorders, said pre-commencement works have been completed.
He revealed this during a familiarisation tour of the project by Beitbridge East legislator, Albert Nguluvhe, yesterday.
“Currently we’re working on the separation of traffic. We are preparing for the festive season where the volume of both human and vehicular traffic peaks,” said Mr Sandernbergh.
“However, the main civil works will start from next year up to 2021 when the project will be completed. At the moment, we want to alleviate the challenges mostly around congestion during peak periods. The whole idea now is to separate traffic lanes into buses, commercial, light vehicles and small commercial vehicles.
“To that end, we are busy constructing new parking lots and navigation routes to synchronise operations.
“Additionally, we are going to be attending to the border fence in line with international standards.”
He said they were done with preliminary enabling works and had employed 74 locals. Next year they will hire between 300 and 400 more people from Beitbridge.
Mr Sandernbergh said in some instances they were going to be demolishing, upgrading and putting up new buildings.
“In terms of construction, we have gone a long way and we have a clear and transparent way to hire people to create employment around Beitbridge,” he said.
“In essence we are doing pre-enabling works, but you can see we are covering a lot of ground. So far, we have mobilised the resources to meet our project deadline.
“It’s a tight schedule, but judging on the work on the ground, we are right on course to meet our target. You will note that we are doing a lot of processes through the right channels to make this wonderful initiative a great success.”
Mr Sandernbergh said the main aim of the border upgrading project was to reduce the time people spend and cargo freight at the port of entry.
“In addition, the border will increase the volume for human and cargo traffic but cleared at a more convenient and quick rate due to the separation of traffic,” he said.
MP Nguluvhe commended President Mnangagwa for initiating the project and said the contractor has done well so far.
“We appreciate the efforts by this company and so far we have no complaints from the local workers over their work ethic.
“It is our hope that Beitbridge Border Post will be one of the best entry points in Sadc. I am sure that when the President comes back to this place he will be pleased with the progress,” he said.
“Further, the completion of the border upgrade will see Zimbabwe and South Africa implementing the envisaged One Stop Border Post Concept.”