19 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Dualisation of National Trunk Roads Begins

THE Zimbabwe National Road Administration has started dualising national trunk roads after securing a US$147 million loan from the African Development Bank for the dualisation of the road between Norton and Kadoma.

The section of the highway between Harare and Norton has since been dualised using Government resources.

Zinara chief executive Mr Frank Chitukutuku, however, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development yesterday that Government would soon announce plans for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare Road.

"We have received some good news from the African Development Bank on the dualisation of the same road that is going to take us from Norton to Kadoma.

"This US$147 million loan will result in the dualisation of the road to somewhere just after Kadoma and will also include structures on the road that include bridges and road signs," he said.

Mr Chitukutuku said the bank was carrying out due diligence on the project and would complete the exercise by the end of next month.

He said disbursement of funds and construction would start in the last quarter of the year.

On the Beitbridge-Harare highway, Mr Chitukutuku said the road could finance itself because it was a viable road with enough traffic.

"So the ministry (Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development) is working to see who can get a concession to invest on the road. The traffic on the road can pay for the investment on that road and I think the ministry will be making an announcement soon."

AfDB provided the US$206 million to the rehabilitation of the Plumtree-Bulawayo-Harare-Mutare highway that will also see the construction of state-of-the-art toll plazas that are fully computerised to reduce leakages.

The rehabilitation is expected to be completed by April next year.

The Zinara boss said last year the organisation collected US$84 million through the Road Fund and expected the amount to increase slightly above US$90 million this year.

He, however, bemoaned corrupt practices by foreign motorists who were not paying transit fees saying this had cost Zinara US$2 million between 2010 and 2012.

"In 2010 we collected US$18 million in transit fees but in 2012 we collected US$16 million.

"What we are seeing is that there is a problem at the borders hence our programme to computerise the system," he said.

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