The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has said the rehabilitation of the Harare–Masvingo–Beitbridge highway has reached another milestone with 400km of the 580km stretch now completed and opened to traffic.
In a Twitter post seen by Pindula News, the ministry last Wednesday said:
Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road update: 400km now opened to traffic. Increase in kilometres of good road network infrastructure.
The rehabilitation of the Chirundu-Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway had been on the cards for a long time as the work done in the 1960s was tearing away causing accidents.
The tender to refurbish the highway was given to an Austrian firm, Geiger International, with a ground-breaking ceremony held in May 2017 to mark the beginning of works at the cost of US$2.7 billion.
However, nothing happened on the ground prompting the government to cancel the tender in 2018 and then engage local companies to rehabilitate the highway.
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, upgrading and tolling of the highway.
The works have been divided into three sections:
i). the 580km Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway together with eight toll plazas,
ii). the 342km Harare-Chirundu highway with six toll plazas, and
iii). the 59km Harare Ring Road with three toll plazas.
The central government has also come up with the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) which also focuses on roads in suburbs of towns and cities.
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.