The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) has called on Government to expeditiously implement the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway, saying further delays in rolling out the highway project threatened the parastatal’s ongoing highway fencing project.
TSCZ has embarked on a nationwide highway perimeter fencing project to reduce road traffic accidents caused by straying animals.
Plans are afoot to start fencing the Harare-Beitbridge Highway perimeter soon after completion of a similar exercise along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway, where 50 kilometres has already been fenced.
TSCZ spokesperson Mr Tatenda Chinoda recently expressed concern over delays in dualising the Harare-Beitbridge Highway, a development he said threatened to hamper the organisation’s plans.
“We have so far completed fencing 50 kilometres along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway,” he said. “If funds permit, we will complete the project by the end of this year and then focus on the Harare-Beitbridge Road.
“It is, however, our view that any further delays to dualise the Harare-Beitbridge Highway would likely impact on our plans to fence the road’s perimeter in the short term. It is pointless for us to erect the fence, which will then be removed when the dualisation project takes off.”
TSCZ had initially projected the cost of fencing the Harare-Beitbridge Highway at $12 million.
The erection of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway perimeter fence is part of TSCZ’s second phase of the organisation’s 100-day plan previously set by the new Government under President Mnangagwa.
Mr Chinoda lamented rampant vandalism that he said threatened smooth roll-out of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway fencing project.
“TSCZ is contracting labour force from communities along the highways to inculcate a sense of ownership of the fence among them,” he said. “It is their fence. So vandalising it is a clear sign of lack of prudence.”
Newly-appointed Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira has already said dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge road was one of the key projects he will pursue during his tenure.
“It is one of my priorities as the new Minister of State for Masvingo to ensure the Harare-Beitbridge Highway dualisation comes to fruition,” he said.
“We are losing many lives on the highway as a result of vehicle-animal collisions. The move by TSCZ to start fencing the highway perimeter is very noble.”