Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THERE is significant progress on some of Bulawayo’s major feeder roads, which are being rehabilitated under the ongoing Government-funded US$400 million Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) recently launched by President Mnangagwa.
Under the programme, 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.
Once completed the works will prolong the life of the carriageway and improve road safety. The works are being carried out in phases, which involve resurfacing works, reinstating carriageway markings, rehabilitation of street lights and other general maintenance works.
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.
Council has also previously said a minimum of US$15 million per year is required to fix the roads, showing that more and continuous funding is required for rad works.
The Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) is already working on roads targeted under the first phase which include 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 Street, Samuel Parirenyatwa, Lobengula and Herbert Chitepo Streets and Matopos Road.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited some of the sites where roadworks are underway and observed CMED workers patching potholes ahead of resealing. Some lanes had been temporarily closed along the Siyephambili Drive between Luveve-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 surface will be compacted after which the road would be ready to be tarred. Already, part of the 4,1km along Fife Street between Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue and 23rd Avenue has been resealed.
The major roads to be rehabilitated under ERRP2 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.
The first phase of road rehabilitation under ERRP2 started on April 14 and was expected to be completed by July 16, 2021.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said they will convene a stakeholders’ meeting tomorrow to get an update on the ongoing roadworks.
“We are having a meeting on Wednesday to get an update so that we are better informed in terms of progress and the challenges faced,” she said.
Bulawayo provincial development coordinator Mr Paul Nyoni said under the programme, the Government is rehabilitating 54 roads in Bulawayo.
He however, could not comment on the progress, saying he needs to look at the report.
Bulawayo City Council spokespersons, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu recently told Chronicle that 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.
Under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development is also working with local authorities as the implementing agent in carrying out the roadworks,” she said.
Yesterday, the city’s roads engineer Simela Dube said all issues to do with emergency road rehabilitation are handled by the PDC, Mr Nyoni.
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.
Government has since mandated the Department of Roads to take over 500km of roads from urban councils.
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.