BCC submits $3 billion quotation for roads rehabilitation Khami road

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has submitted a $3 billion quotation to the Government after it pledged to release funds to rehabilitate some of the city’s unnavigable roads littered with potholes.

Council has identified five key roads that require emergency rehabilitation  – Luveve Road, Matopos Road, Wellington Road, Khami Road and Steelworks Road.

Council intends to do overlays along Khami Road from the Flyover to Mpopoma Avenue as well as Matopos Road from 23rd Avenue to Leander Road.

Council said it will also make overlays on Luveve Road where there is a bad stretch near Engen Service Station in Matshobana as well as Steelworks Road from Basch to Mpopoma.

Council intends to patch potholes, improve drainage and road signage.

Since the start of the rainy season, most of the city’s roads have become untraffickable.

Council has covered the potholes with soil as a stop-gap measure but the rains have washed it away, making the roads a nightmare to drive on.

Last Thursday, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona toured some of the city’s worst roads and directed the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) to release funds to the local authority so that it attends to them.

Minister Mhona went on a bumpy drive along Luveve Road, and Khami Road passing through Ingwebu Breweries to appreciate the state of the roads.

Along Luveve Road, the Minister observed that motorists had abandoned some sections of the road for pathways and residential roads which could be risky for residents as children normally play on such areas.

Minister Mhona directed BCC engineers to work closely with Bulawayo Provincial Roads Engineer Stephen Kamutema in drafting a budget for the road works.

Following Minister Mhona’s visit, Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said the local authority had a plan to attend to the damaged roads, but council was resource constrained.

Responding to Chronicle questions yesterday, BCC corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said council has submitted the quotation to Government which justifies the funds the council needs.

Mrs Nesisa Mpofu

“Yes, the budget was crafted and shared with the relevant Government departments on the 17th November 2022. The budget is US$5 million ($3,2 billion),” said Mrs Mpofu.

She said council will use in-house resources for the road rehabilitation projects.

“The city roads have further deteriorated due to the rains that the country received in the beginning of November 2022. This has affected connectivity within the city, increased travelling times, increased vehicle operating costs and caused general frustration to the general motoring public,” she said.

“The city intends to use the in-house teams for overlay works, outsource the batching of hot mix and complement internal resources with hired plant.”

During the tour, Minister Mhona urged the local authority to ensure that Government gets value for money in the road rehabilitation.

He said concerns have been raised over shoddy works in road rehabilitation works which results in rehabilitated roads being damaged within a short space of time.

“The issue of workmanship has been topical particularly in Parliament where we have monitoring and evaluation. I’m also glad that among us we have Members of Parliament who are also doing their oversight role in terms of reporting back to the electorate. What is important is to move with speed,” he said.

Minister Mhona said he was notified that lack of proper drainage system in some roads in the city was contributing to their damage.

“In terms of scope of works we should ensure that we do it perfectly and we protect taxpayers’ money. I was asking why this particular area is seriously pothole littered and we should speak to those issues. The issue of potholes here are due to lack of proper drainage and we have told the council to attend to that,” said Minister Mhona. BCC is on record stating that it requires US$700 million as most of the roads have outlived their lifespan.

Minister Felix Mhona

To attend to the worsening state of roads countrywide, Government introduced the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP 2) last year to attend to the country’s road network which has deteriorated due to the rains.

This saw significant progress being made in the rehabilitation of Bulawayo’s roads with Siyephambili Drive, George Avenue and 23rd Avenue being some of the major roads rehabilitated.

Government allocated $1 billion to Bulawayo towards the emergency road rehabilitation.

Treasury, this year tightened on payouts to Government-funded projects after observing that some contractors were inflating prices and fuelling black market rates. – @nqotshili

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