Rains destroy road section in Vic Falls

21 Nov, 2022 - 14:11 0 Views
Rains destroy road section in Vic Falls

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter

A SECTION of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road near Masuwe River Bridge in the resort city has become dangerous as one lane of the road is precariously hanging after rains washed its sides.

A news crew visited the portion of the road near Truck Stop turn-off and noted that the eastern lane has been barricaded.

The same portion of the road was damaged by floods in December 2021 and was not repaired.

The rains that fell across the country recently deepened the gulley that has formed from the roadside.

The section is a crossing point for storm drain pipes underneath and they have been exposed and broken by erosion, and a mere look at the road show that continued use might lead to collapse.

This could be disastrous for the resort city as that is the only road into the city from the Bulawayo direction and airport.

Tourism will be affected as shuttle vehicles from the airport and into Chamabondo and Hwange National Parks will be affected.

It will not be easy to create ordinary detours because of the Kalahari sands.

Motorists have expressed concern about the state of the whole Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway and have appealed to Government to urgently rehabilitate the road.

Government availed $33 billion to fund the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) after it declared the country’s roads a state of disaster.

The highway is now littered with dangerous potholes that are making driving very difficult, especially at night.

The potholes are very deep and in some sections of the highway they cover the entire width of the road making driving a nightmare.

Government has said full rehabilitation of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway will only start after the completion of the ongoing upgrade of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway.

Rehabilitation and upgrading of the country’s road network is among key National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) projects.

The Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway connects Zimbabwe to South Africa and Zambia and passes through Beitbridge Border Post, which is Sadc’s busiest inland port.

Government engaged a South African firm, Khato Civils, to rehabilitate the highway under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) arrangement in 2019 but later cancelled the deal after the company delayed to implement the project.

The local community is concerned that Victoria Falls could soon be isolated if the section of the road collapses as no vehicles will enter the city.

Even public transport will be affected.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said engagements had been made and he expects roads engineers to act faster.

We have spoken to the provincial engineer because we can’t start running around when disaster happens. Once it collapses it will be more costly, he said.

Hwange West Constituency MP Godfrey Dube said while the local corporate world could assist, Government is supposed to act quickly as this is a national road.

“The road near Masuwe River Bridge is badly damaged and we have contacted the respective Government departments for speedy action and we are hoping for the best. We have spoken to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development (Felix Mhona) and we realised the Victoria Falls City Council had done a bill of quantities and sent to Zinara who had not submitted papers to Harare.

“We are also told that a private partner is willing to do corporate social responsibility work on the road and engagements are being done which we hope will be finalised soon to avert disaster, said the MP.

He said his office had engaged roads engineers in the province to be on the alert.

“We are so much worried, we might need to have a strong report to the President about that road, he said.

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