12 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Disaster At Chivake

Disaster is looming at Chivake River Bridge in Murewa as small vehicles and trucks with heavy loads continue using the damaged bridge.

The bridge is developing cracks that are weakening the structure after a truck driver lost control of his vehicle and a 30-tonne granite block he was hauliing fell off the trailer and punched a hole through the bridge last week.

Police have since sealed off the affected lane.

Mashonaland East acting provincial construction engineer in the department of Roads, Engineer Arnold Mutungwazi said they were still assessing the damaged deck of the bridge which is developing cracks to determine the nature of work in repairing it.

"According to our assessment so far, constructing the whole deck is the only plausible solution instead of repairing the damaged section only," he said.

Eng Mutungwazi said it was feasible to divert heavy trucks to the old Murewa road to prevent the cracks from further widening.

A source within the department said the suggested alternative was in a bad state and needed rehabilitation.

"Old Murewa road is in a bad state as it has not been used for a couple of years.

"So far the department has sourced a grader and tippers are being hired to carry gravel that will fill up the gullies that have developed on it.

"The bridge can still sustain the weight of the trucks passing through it as most of the reinforcement steel bars remained in place supporting the bridge and it could take a minimum of a month's repairs if all the resources we need for the work are put in place," said the source.

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