By John Nhandara
Three hundred and forty kilometres of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway have been opened to traffic, with works underway to dualise a 12-kilometre stretch from the Skyline Tollgate along Beatrice Road.
Members of the media are on a familiarisation tour of road works being carried out along the highway, with 340 kilometres out of a total of 580 now open to traffic.
The Permanent Secretary in The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Engineer Theodius Chinyanga briefed the media on the scope of the project, with works on dualising a 12-kilometre stretch from Skyline Tollgate along Beatrice Road underway.
The Skyline Tollgate is also set to be relocated as part of the rehabilitation project.
“Beitbridge road had outlived its own design life from Tobacco Graders, which is 30 kilometres outside Harare. We are going to dualise that road from that point into Harare. The new portion that we are dualising is 12 kilometres. We have identified a point for a new tollgate to move it from problematic Skyline area. Overally, we have covered 340 kilometres,” he explained.
One of the contractors, Exodus, is currently working on the Road Over Rail Bridge in Rutenga.
Engineer Giny Muchenje, Exodus site manager noted, “We have excavated land and refilled with proper soil as we are doing the Road Over Rail Bridge.”
Motorists and residents of Chaka in Chirumhanzu have been impressed by the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme.
“The road works are being done properly and we appreciate the government for a job well done,” a motorist said.
Another noted, “This area in Chaka was a black spot in road accidents and when the road was repaired occurrence of these accidents has reduced.”
In Rutenga, the ERRP programme came as an employment opportunity for locals who are now employed by companies working on the Highway.
“We got employed as a result of the project and we are now able to send our kids to school,” said a resident.
Said another, “I was unemployed and struggling to make ends meet but when the contractor moved in to work on this portion of the road we got employed.”
The Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway rehabilitation project is expected to facilitate trade and leverage the country’s geographical position as a central link to the SADC region’s movement of cargo.