GOVERNMENT allocated more than $700 million to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development for rehabilitation of a 3 000km road network under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) Phase 2 in Matabeleland North province.
The Ministry, through the Department of Roads, is working on 27 road projects in the province and expects to complete them by end of next month.
President Mnangagwa launched the US$400 million ERRP2 which is a countrywide initiative meant to improve the country’s road network which is in diplorable state following the incessant rains received last season.
The ongoing road projects involve pothole patching, grading, regravelling, spot dumping, wash away repairs, culverts construction, reseals and rehabilitation.
The ERRP2 has created jobs as hundreds of people have been employed to work on the different projects.
Responding to questions, Matabeleland North provincial roads engineer Xolani Ncube said 15 contractors have been contracted to carry out road works in the province.
Some are private contractors while three local authorities, Hwange Local Board, Lupane Local Board and Victoria Falls City Council have also partnered Government to do roadworks in line with the Second Republic’s call for partnerships.
“The Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is undertaking 27 projects in the province.
Phase Two Matabeleland North roads rehab underway
The projects involve pothole patching, grading, regravelling, spot dumping, wash away repairs, culverts construction, reseals and rehabilitation and the total allocation for the Matabeleland North province is $705, 4 million. The expected completion date for all of the projects is 30 November 2021,” said Eng Ncube.
He said the total length of the road network under the roads department in the province is 2 937km.
This excludes those administered by local authorities and the District Development Fund (DDF).
Work is going on several roads.
Bulawayo-Nkayi, Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road, Bulawayo-Victoria Falls, Victoria Falls-Kazungula and Cross Dete-Binga roads are key connectors to the province’s economic activities such as tourism, mining and others.
“On the first phase of the programme we have targeted 1 543km. On the Bulawayo-Nkayi road the first phase involved spot dumping, grading and wash away repairs to make the road trafficable. Grass cutting was also done on the first 50km of the road for visibility of animals. Construction of a 14km stretch on the Bulawayo-Nkayi road will be starting soon once all processes of procuring and engaging a contractor are completed,” said Eng Ncube.
The Bulawayo-Nkayi, Cross Dete-Binga and Bulawayo-Tsholotsho roads had become untraffickable.
The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls-Kazungula road as well as Cross Dete-Binga road are critical as they are links to tourism destinations.
The Nkayi-Bulawayo road is a major economic connector, linking Bulawayo to Nkayi and Gokwe in the Midlands province.
Nkayi is a sleeping economic hub with opportunities in coal mining, timber, farming and tourism.
There are rare bird species in Mbazhe area along Shangani River.
The road can be used to transport agricultural produce such as livestock, cotton, grain and flowers that are grown in Sembewule area.
Nkayi North legislator, Cde Sithembiso Nyoni who is also Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, said once rehabilitated, the Bulawayo-Nkayi road can awaken the sleeping district which has no bank, mortuary and relies on a single fuel garage.
“The road needs serious rehabilitation. I travel on the road every time and it is in bad state. President Mnangagwa has said it is a priority and we hope it will be attended to so that people in Nkayi are connected to the rest of the country, she said.