Blessings Chidakwa and Victor Maphosa
Government has assigned five more contractors to undertake roadworks on the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway and released $150 million for the project.
Work is expected to start soon.
Tensor Systems, Masimba Construction, Fossil Contractors, Exodus Company and Bitumen World have each been allocated 20-kilometre stretches, with room for expansion to 100km depending on their performance.
The highway is key in attaining Vision 2030, which seeks to turn the country into an upper middle income economy.
This was said by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza in Norton on Thursday while assessing progress on a road-over-rail bridge along a section of the Harare-Bulawayo Highway.
“There is a lot of progress going on. We recently finished the selection process of the five more contractors and the contracts have been signed,” he said.
“Next week the companies will start moving to their respective sites. That has been our plea that the project gets the necessary attention it deserves.
“Treasury has also availed $150 million for the five companies to use for mobilisation of resources and getting on their respective sites. On top of the ($150 million), Treasury will also be doing monthly disbursements.”
Minister Matiza said the projects were continuing despite the onset of the rains.
“Yes, we are aware that we are approaching the rainy season, but rains will not stop us, they will only slow us a bit. When the rains are heavy, we will obviously stop and continue when they subside or stop.
“Obviously there will be disruptions, but we cannot completely stop our operations. We are geared for the project and people should know that we are not going back on this one. As Government we will see it through to completion,” he said.
The first section of the road covers Mashonaland East Province, and Tensor Systems will undertake the rehabilitation works while Masimba Construction is responsible for road works on the section covering the Midlands Province.
Minister Matiza said two contractors have been assigned to work on the Masvingo Province section, with Fossil Contractors responsible for the Masvingo-Chatsworth stretch while Exodus and Company will take care of the Masvingo-Maringire areas.
Bitumen World will be responsible for Matabeleland South Province (the Bubi area).
Minister Matiza said a team of project managers will be deployed to ensure all road works are top quality.
The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway project consists of phased dualisation, rehabilitation and widening of the existing road from the current seven metres width to Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATTC) standard of 12,5 metres width.
Climbing lanes will be added where necessary.
The road sections are Beitbridge-Harare with 570km of road works and eight toll plazas.
The Harare-Chirundu section consists of 342km road works and six toll plaza, and the Harare ring road covering 59km with three toll plazas.
Turning to the road-over-rail bridge, Minister Matiza said the project will be complete by November 21 while construction of a tollgate in Norton on the other lane is expected to commence before end of year.
“This important structure (road-over-rail bridge) which allows traffic flows from Harare-Bulawayo, is now at advanced stage by November 21 it will be complete.
“This structure is being done by local engineers. This shows great strides Government has made on roads and the infrastructure is amazing despite the economic situation in the country,” he said.
Bitumen World is one of the country’s leading civil engineering companies involved in infrastructure development, road, concrete, water and sewer reticulation works it has been involved in a number of road projects across the country notably the Chivi-Mandamabwe-Tokwe road- Marondera –Musami, Ngundu-Tanganda roads and those in the Greater Harare area.
Masimba Holding is a contracting group providing innovative engineering and infrastructure client solutions to various sectors in the Southern African region. Its services include civil engineering, buildings, housing, road and earthworks, structural steel fabrication and property development.
Fossil Contracting is a local contracting firm that specialises in civil works, contract mining, road construction, earth works, building and structural works and plant hire. Some of its projects include the reconstruction of Lunar road in Borrowdale and construction of the Mushagashi Toll gate plaza along the Harare-Beitbridge road. Exodus and Company is an infrastructure company that has wide experience and a proven record in designing and constructing arterial, residential/township and roads, bridges, water and sewer reticulation networks.
Some of its works include the resealing of the Harare- Bindura road and the rehabilitation of the Bindura-Mahuhwe road.
Tensor Systems Pvt Ltd is a wholly Zimbabwean owned infrastructural development company founded in 2003. It is involved in civil construction, building construction and infrastructure concession services.
Meanwhile, Minister Matiza said the repairing of roads and bridges in Manicaland Province, which were destroyed by Cyclone Idai, has reached an advanced stage.
“We are assuring our people in Chimanimani and other areas who had their roads destroyed by the ravaging Cyclone Idai that those roads will be usable soon.
“Contractors are busy on the ground and most of the roads will be usable before the start of the rainy season. We expect them to be in perfect condition,” said Minister Matiza.
Early this year, Zimbabwe was hit by Cyclone Idai which killed over 400 people and left many others injured and homeless.