Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
Roadworks in Bulawayo under the Government-funded US$400 million Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) recently launched by President Mnangagwa, have gathered pace with significant progress being made on major feeder roads linking the city.
Bulawayo was allocated more than $625 million for the rehabilitation of its estimated road network covering 2 460km and the money is being disbursed in batches.
The city recently received $35 million from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) under the ERRP2.
In the first quarter, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) got $15 million for routine roadworks.
BCC is on record saying that 70 percent of its road network has outlived its lifespan. The authority requires about US$700 million to fix the roads.
Under the first phase of the programme, the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) has already started rehabilitating Siyephambili Drive covering a 16,3km stretch from Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road turn-off to the Bulawayo-Plumtree Road in Belmont and various sections along 4th Avenue and 8th Avenue, Fife, Samuel Parirenyatwa, Lobengula and Herbert Chitepo streets and Matopos Road.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited selected sites where roadworks are underway. Some lanes had been temporarily blocked along the Siyephambili Drive between Luveve road-Victoria Falls Road as a road reclaimer (grader) reclaimed part of the road.
A road reclaimer is a 4-in-1 machine that can reclaim 3km a day. A site worker who spoke to Chronicle said: “After reclaiming the road, the compactor comes and the road will be ready to be tarred. We are moving at a very fast pace and everything is progressing well as you can see for yourselves.”
Already, part of 4,1 km along Fife Street (Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue to 23rd Avenue) has been resealed.
Major roads due to be rehabilitated under the facility include Fife Street (Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue to 23rd Avenue, 4,1 kilometres), Luveve Road- arterial (Lobengula Street to Nguboyenja Avenue, 2,1 kilometres), Luveve Road -arterial (Nguboyenja to Siyephambili drive, 4,7 kilometres), Waverly Road (Sixth Avenue Extension to Khami Road, 1,7 kilometres), Matopos Road (23rd Avenue to Leander Avenue, 2,5 kilometres) and Matopos Road (Leander Avenue to City boundary, 2,9 kilometres).
Others include; Nketa Drive-major collector (Hyde Road to Emadibheni Road 2,1 kilometres), Nketa Drive-major collector (Hyde Park Road to Khami Road 1,1 kilometres), Coghlan Avenue (George Avenue and Cecil Avenue, 2,8 kilometres), George Avenue (Gwanda Road to Harare Road, 2,4 kilometres), Dundee Drive (Plumtree Road to Matopos, 2,9 kilometres), Cowdray Corridor (Railway line to Cowdray Park service station, 2,9 kilometres), Doncaster Road (Bristol Rd South to 23rd Avenue. 1,09 kilometres) and Josiah Chinamano 14th Avenue to Halifax Road, 2,9 kilometres.
BCC corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the first phase of road rehabilitation under ERRP2 started on April 14 and expected to be completed by July 16, 2021.
“Once completed these works will prolong the life of the carriageway, improve road safety and ride quality. The works will be carried out in phases and will involve resurfacing works, reinstating carriageway markings, rehabilitation of street lights and other general maintenance works,” she said.
Mrs Mpofu said for council to improve the state of its roads in the next five years, a minimum of US$15 million per year is required. She said under their 2021 capital projects, they are prioritising roads.
“From our Zinara allocation, council is reconstructing and resealing 6,5km along Siyephambili Drive between Luveve road-Victoria Falls Road and 5,4km on the Matopos road between 23rd Avenue. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development is also working with us as the implementing agent is carrying out the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme in accordance with Statutory Instrument 47 of 2021 (Declaration of State of Disaster, Road Infrastructure Network), which is funded by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Zinara,” she said.
Mrs Mpofu said there are other ongoing road rehabilitation works within the city, which the council is implementing as part of efforts improve the state of the roads.
“The city recently received $15 436 055 from Zinara for the first quarter for routine road maintenance. The disbursed funds are expected to produce at least 400 tonnes of premix which will be utilised within the next six to seven weeks,” she said.
“The disbursement is quarterly for routine maintenance while for periodic maintenance, that is overlay, reconstruction works are paid after the work has been carried out.”
Cabinet recently declared the country’s road network a state of disaster as most of the roads have become untrafficable due to ageing and damage by heavy rains that were received during the past summer season. In her post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Government has rehabilitated more than 7 000km of road network across the country so far under the ERRP2.
Government has since mandated the Department of Roads to take over 500km of roads from urban councils.
Minister Mutsvangwa said 7 515km out of the targeted 13 313km of the road network had been pothole patched, while 4 115km had been graded, 874km re-gravelled and 164km rehabilitated or constructed.
In Bulawayo, the city council completed the asphalt overlay over Fife Street, while in Matabeleland North, 33km of the Hwange-St. Mary’s-Luseche Road was re-gravelled by the District Development Fund (DDF) and 6km was surfaced.
Progress has also been recorded in Mashonaland West Province where the DDF has so far surfaced 10km of the Karoi-Binga Road from Chivakanenyama Secondary School to Zvipani Rural Business Centre.
In Manicaland, the surfacing of 15,5km of the Kopa-Jopa Road had been completed while surfacing of the remaining 10km on the Marange-Zvipiripiri Road is expected to be completed by June 30. In Mashonaland East, construction of the Monte Casino Bridge was completed and awaits commissioning.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the rehabilitation of 14km in Masvingo, putting up of road signs and carriageway markings as well as drainage and vegetation control had been completed on more than 7km of the Chivi-Mhandamabwe Road.
According to the timelines set for this year, 840km of roads across the country will be rehabilitated and reconstructed, while 8 340km will be re-gravelled with 17 093km of road network set to be regraded. —@mashnets