MUTARE– Zimbabwe’s old road network and infrastructure is baulking under incessant rains pounding the country, prompting the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to warn motorists to exercise extreme caution.
Acting Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Winston Chitando (MP) in a statement advised the nation that compounded effects of ‘heavy and incessant rains that are being witnessed across Zimbabwe have badly affected the country’s road infrastructure.’
Chitando urged motorists to exercise extreme caution while approaching bridges as they may be weakened or completely swept away because of the rains.
He further advised drivers and the public not to cross flooded rivers and to avoid driving at night as depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark.
“Let us all be cautious on our roads. Together we can make a difference and save precious lives. Remember, one death is too many,” he said.
The Minister also revealed that government was currently engaged in ongoing infrastructure management through provincial teams conducting onsite assessments.
“Provincial Road Engineers (PREs) are currently on the ground assessing the state of major structures for any signs of scour, erosion, or bridge movement to timeously and effectively respond to the situation based on identified needs.
“REs will also place warning signs to warn motorists of any identified potential danger along the country’s road network,” he said.
Zimbabwe national road network excluding urban roads, which are also in a dire state, totals 76 241 km, of which only 9 256 km (12.1%) are bitumen surfaced. Most of these roads are more than thirty years and therefore require complete rehabilitation works.
Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) the parastatal responsible for management maintenance and development of the national road network is only able to fund routine and periodic maintenance countrywide.