Harare-Beitbridge Dualisation On The Cards…For The Umpteenth Time
The government has announced, for the unaccountable time, that the Dualisation and rehabilitation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway will commence soon with funding from the Road Fund.
The highway, the country’s busiest road is a key economic pathway as it links Zimbabwe to several Southern African countries.
According to Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, the rehabilitation will be two phased with dualization only for 10 kilometres into and out of towns while the rest will be widened.
“Cabinet received a briefing by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development on progress in the rehabilitation and dualization of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway. Following the decision by the government to use resources from the Road Fund.
“In terms of this arrangement, the Highway will be upgraded in two phases. Phase 1 entails the rehabilitation and widening of the existing road. This will bring the road to the same standard as N1 on the South African side and the Chirundu-Lusaka Road on the Zambian Side,” noted Mutsvangwa.
The first phase will be completed in three years while the second part will entail the dualization of the rest of sections of the road.
This, according to Mutsvangwa, will entail utilization of local contractors, materials, and labor, which has the advantage of increasing local employment generation and stimulating greater demand for the overall economy.
According to information on the ministry of Information’s Twitter handle, feasibility studies have indicated that the complete dualization of the Highway is not viable because traffic volumes are not sufficient for the project to recoup it’s costs.
The entire Highway would require 6000 vehicles daily, paying tolls fees at each of the seven tollgates.
“Presently, traffic on the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare Highway is about 2 600 vehicles per day while on the Harare-Chirundu Highway it’s 1040 vehicles per day. In light of this, the best course of action is to widen most parts of the road.
“The road is on an 8/10 configuration whereby 8m of the road is tarred while 2m is the gravel shoulder. The road will be widened to make it 12.5m in width. Making it at par with the Beitbridge-Polokwane and Chirundu-Lusaka Highways which have similar configurations,” said the Ministry on Twitter.
The dualization of this critical highway has been reported for over 15 years now and on several occasions, has been stalled due to political reasons.
Several groundbreaking ceremonies to mark the commencement of the dualization have been conducted but have all suffered a stillbirth as nothing has been done.
Recently, the government revoked the tender from Austrian based contractor, Geiger, after it was reported that the company had missed deadlines on the agreed timelines for the project.