Transport Minister: Chivhu bypass complete. From today the old road going through the town centre is closed, or rather it is now a side turning for those who want or need to visit the district hub, buy a meal or anything else while the through traffic skirts the town.
National and international traffic no longer has to inch through Chivhu town centre, and the residents no longer have to fear for their lives every time they cross their main street, with the new 2,6km by-pass built by Government as part of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway now taking the strain.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona, Government, and Zinara officials yesterday toured the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway to assess the impressive progress made thus far. In an interview, Minister Mhona said: “We have a bypass which is about 2,6km and we have given a public notice that we are going to be closing the old road with effect from tomorrow (today). I am also grateful that as we then pass through the town, we are going to beautify Chivhu,.
When roads or other key infrastructure are developed, contractors are expected to go a step further and improve the areas so that communities realise the value of the development that is taking place in every part of the country, leaving no one and no place behind as espoused by President Mnangagwa.
For Masvingo City the upgrade was different. This city has a 10km stretch of dual carriage way at each end, so that the national traffic and the city traffic do not, between them, clog the highway. And since it is the major highway and main city road, solar street lights are being erected so traffic can keep flowing, Minister Mhona said.
“We are also going to make sure that we have flowers along the highway which is the normal and best practice that we are partaking in as the Second Republic,” he said. This week Masvingo City gained 10km stretches of dual carriageway on each side to cope with city traffic as well as national traffic, plus upgrades of three bridges within the city to handle the wide road and greater traffic flows.
“I am also happy that as we then move along the road you were seeing, yes it has been raining, but works are ongoing and people will see accelerated progress soon after the rains.”
As work is finished off on the long southern stretch between Beitbridge and Harare, the contractors and the effort will move north to the Harare-Chirundu Road, which will soon see reconstruction. A complex section down the Zambezi Escarpment needing extensive re-engineering was recently completed through Japanese help, but the rest of this northern section of the main north-south corridor needs the same sort of upgrade seen on the southern side.
“I am happy that the team which is superintending the same stretch, Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge will soon be moving to Harare-Chirundu after the rains. So I am happy to say to the people of Zimbabwe that, yes, this is an exercise that will call for a holistic approach, yes it might take time for us to then start rehabilitating other major roads, but we are not stopping.”
He said soon they will open traffic to another 10km along the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway to give a total of 410km that has been rebuilt and upgraded.
Five local companies were contracted to undertake the work: Tensor Systems, Masimba Holdings, Fossil Contracting, Exodus & Company, and Bitumen World. The scope of the project involves dualisation on sections where local and national traffic coincide, upgrading, and tolling of the highway.
The entire north-south corridor has been divided into three sections: the 580km Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway together with eight toll plazas, the 342km Harare-Chirundu highway with six toll plazas, and the 59km Harare Ring Road with three toll plazas. These tollgates are what pay for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the road.
The ring road around Harare Metropolitan will make it easy for international and national traffic on the north-south and east-west national highways to avoid the traffic nightmare of Harare, even where inner by-pass roads can keep it out of the city centre. Chivhu is not the only centre getting a by-pass. The huge Harare-Chitungwiza-Epworth spread out urban settlement gets one as well.
Government also came up with the ERRP2 not only to focus on major highways, but also those roads in suburbs of towns and cities that have been abandoned by opposition-run councils over the years, leaving motorists to navigate potholes and increasing the cost of owning and operating vehicles.
Over 2 000km of roads have been re-gravelled, while 6 627,9km have been graded, with 701 drainage structures constructed or repaired and 184 wash-aways reclaimed. Across the country, 4 491,5km of drains have been opened while 6 141,2km of verges have been cleared. Progress continues to be made on the patching of potholes, with 4 794,8km of the road having been attended to.
President Mnangagwa recently urged people, especially in urban areas, to vote out incompetent opposition councillors and legislators and bring in those from Zanu PF who are pushed by the party to deliver for the people.
Zanu PF, led by President Mnangagwa, has been on a drive to improve infrastructure across the country. Dams, roads, bridges, hospitals, clinics, and schools have been constructed while irrigation schemes that stopped operating several years ago have been resuscitated by President Mnangagwa’s administration.
The President has said that with more economic activities now taking place across the country, Zimbabweans are guaranteed a massive improvement in their living standards in line with Vision 2030 of an empowered and prosperous upper-middle income society.
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