Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
THE Government is working on extending the existing Norton Toll Plaza on the dualised road as part of the New Dispensation’s commitment to infrastructure development.
Briefing Vice President Kembo Mohadi during a tour to assess the Norton Road Over Rail bridge in Norton yesterday, an official from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development said the Government has engaged Arup Consulting Engineers to design Norton Toll Plaza on the dualised road.
“There is need to extend the existing Norton Toll Plaza on the dualised road. The Department of Roads has engaged the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to get approval for direct procurement of design consultancy services.
“The intellectual property rights of the toll plaza designs on the Harare-Gweru Road belongs to Arup Consulting Engineers, which has already been engaged,” said the official.
VP Mohadi said the Norton Road Over Rail bridge project shows Government’s commitment to infrastructure development and modernisation.
“The project has been undertaken by local resources. The progress and complexity of the structure bears testimony to the fact that Government is walking the talk in terms of infrastructure development,” said VP Mohadi.
“For any development to take place there must be a road network, there must be a rail network because you cannot develop a country without a road network.
“As Government we have seen it fit to develop this road. This one is one of the busiest roads which links the two largest cities in Zimbabwe which are Bulawayo and Harare, so we decided to dualise it.
“It is because the road that we had which we took over in 1980, had outlived its lifespan and the shoulders were actually destroyed and that caused the road to become narrow and we were having lots of accidents.
‘‘So we decided to dualise it instead of widening it because of the volume of traffic that goes on this road,” he said.
The New Dispensation, VP Mohadi said is committed to transform the economy to an upper middle economy by 2030.
“So this is part of our developments as the New Dispensation. When we say we would want to see an upper middle economy by the year 2030, we mean that all the infrastructure would be put in place,” he said.
VP Mohadi said the Government intends to revive the industries in Bulawayo.
“Bulawayo used to be the hub of our industries and we want to revive it and a lot of traffic then used to come from Bulawayo to this place hence even the headquarters of the Railways is in Bulawayo. It is because of its strategic position and its distribution rail and road network there, the North, South, to the West and to the East,” he said.
One of the country’s leading civil engineering companies involved in infrastructure development Bitumen World is constructing the Norton Road Over Rail bridge. Bitumen World chief executive officer Mr Andre Zietsman said they expect to complete the project next month.
“We started constructing the bridge in March this year and we expect to complete the project by the 25th of November this year.
“You can see by the work that is being done here. We have the capacity and capability,” he said.
We have already been paid about US$3 million so far. The project is worth more than US$4,5 million
“The funding of this project was constant so I can say for this project we are satisfied with Government’s commitment to complete the project,” he said.