New look for Zim roads.

by Christopher Makaza.

The new dispensation has transformed most Zimbabwean roads into beautiful, safe and passable, which motorists have commended and always yearned for.

A huge public outcry was the order of the day over the poor state of roads which had developed crater-like potholes and had not been attended to by responsible local authorities especially MDC led councils.

For a long time now, Harare City council had failed to come up with a lasting solution to potholes which were now a death trap to motorists. Road users had always expressed concern over the state of the roads in the capital which resulted in increased number of accidents and damages to vehicles. The road users’ appeal to the responsible authorities to take swift action before more lives were lost have not been addressed. This has prompted Government to intervene by rehabilitating roads both in urban and rural areas.

Motorists always complained that the poor state of roads was causing inconveniences to the road users, especially in Harare where there are massive traffic jams.

Potholes normally damage vehicles and in most cases lead to traffic congestion as motorists negotiate their way around them. Motorists also incur unnecessary expenses repairing tyres and suspension.

Last year saw Government focusing on grading the country’s national road networks to ensure that they are passable and safe to road users. A total of $126,2 million was disbursed to road authorities under the Government of Zimbabwe Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) in 2017 as Government, through the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, made sure that the funds were availed for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the country’s road networks.

The Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) is a programme that was initiated by Government of Zimbabwe to rehabilitate the country’s road networks that had been extensively damaged during the last rainy season.

It is the new political dispensation’s thrust for Zimbabwe to have a well-developed, trafficable and safe trunk, rural and urban road networks.

The general condition of most roads in the country deteriorated due to heavy rains and lack of maintenance. Under the Programme, Rural District Councils got a disbursement of $17 million, achieving 61 percent of their planned road works’ programmes for the year.

Rural District Councils graded 14 353 kilometres of gravel roads against a planned target of 23 390 kilometres.

Some local authorities especially urban councils are abusing funds they receive from ZINARA, diverting them to other uses resulting in  failing to rehabilitate damaged roads. Most Rural District Councils have been successfully utilising the funds as witnessed by stretches of graded gravel roads.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo recently officially opened the dualised section between Goromonzi turn off and the toll gate that was constructed at a cost of $6,8 million. The dualised section is part of the broader project to dualise the Harare-Mutare Highway. The Government is also currently working on Marondera-Wedza, Nhekairo-Chigondo, Beatrice-Mubaira, Wedza –Sadza roads among others.