WATCH: Zinara sets aside $93 billion road maintenance war chest Vehicles negotiate their way past a big pothole along Lobengula Street yesterday

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has set aside $93 billion for road works and maintenance in the first quarter of the year under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP)

To attend to the worsening state of roads countrywide, Government introduced the ERRP in 2021.
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.

The city roads have further deteriorated due to the rains that the country has been receiving since the beginning of November last year.

Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara)

This has affected connectivity within the city, increased travelling times, increased vehicle operating costs and caused general frustration to the motoring public.
Last year, Government allocated $1 billion to Bulawayo towards emergency road rehabilitation.

In an interview yesterday, Zinara spokesperson Mr Tendai Mugabe said the money is ready for disbursement to the local authorities around the country.

“As Zinara we have availed $93 billion for road rehabilitation and maintenance and the funds are readily available for local authorities to access. What we do as Zinara is to collect revenue and disburse funds to local authorities,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) spokesperson Mr Tendai Mugabe.

“It is important to note that the funds that are availed by Zinara are for road rehabilitation and maintenance, not the construction of roads.”
Mr Mugabe said local authorities are supposed to send Zinara their acquittals.

“We have a look at them and then if we are satisfied against set guidelines, we then avail the funds to the local authority after meeting the requirements,” he said.

In Bulawayo, 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 Street to Mpopoma.

Council intends to patch potholes, and improve drainage and road signage.
Bulawayo’s roads are riddled with potholes and the situation has been worse since the onset of the rainy season.
Bulawayo City Council is on record saying 70 percent of its road network has outlived its lifespan. The authority requires about US$700 million to fix the roads.

In Matabeleland North, roads that need urgent attention include, the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road, Bulawayo-Nkayi and Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highways, while in Matabeleland South it is Bulawayo-Kezi-Maphisa road that needs attention.
Dr Patson Mlilo, chief executive officer for Bubi Rural District Council, said nearly 200km of the road network needs to be rehabilitated and maintained.

Luveve Road Construction

“The roads that need rehabilitation are Enaleni, Waterfalls, Fries and Majiji Kokolombeni. There’s a need for bush clearing, spot gravelling formation and fixing of drains. In terms of maintenance, roads such as Mbembesi, Litshe, Mary Ellen and Old Hunter are our priority,” said Dr Mlilo.

He said the roads are important in the economy of the district and province.
Dr Mlilo said last year they received $43 million for road maintenance and rehabilitation and this year expects to get $100 million.

However, Dr Mlilo said the local authority faces challenges with regard to fuel and equipment.
“The suppliers do not charge us at the interbank rate; hence we face this challenge as we try to rehabilitate and maintain the roads. Again, the fuel is bought in foreign currency and this has become a headache for us to execute our plan on roads,” he said.

Potholes along Gwanda Road

Member of the National Assembly for Nkayi South Constituency in Matabeleland North Province, Ms Stars Mathe said the Bulawayo-Nkayi Highway is a priority.

“The Nkayi-Bulawayo Road is in a bad state and its rehabilitation is a top priority. This rehabilitation can be done from Bulawayo up to Cross Mutapa,” she said.

“There is no road that connects Nkayi and Ward 13 where there’s Gabi Secondary School. Transporting school materials is a problem as the road is bad. The rehabilitation of Nkayi-Bulawayo will result in increased economic activity.”

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