Pending Court order stalls highway project

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THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has engaged financiers and partners to kick-start the rehabilitation and dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge — which is a gateway to the region — road but must wait for a court order involving the previous contractor.

Hazel Ndebele

The project stalled after government expressed doubt over the capacity of the contractor.

In an interview this week, Zinara’s chairperson Albert Mugabe said his institution is channelling its energy towards the reconstruction of the road which has been in a poor state for a long time despite being a major business link road. “Harare-Beitbridge road should be looked at as an economic corridor for the country. Zinara is ready to start the project but the only thing holding us back and outstanding is a directive from the court involving the previous contractor,” Mugabe said.

“As Zinara we will not only refurbish the road but will also rehabilitate Beitbridge border town as it is a passage leading to economic growth,” he added.

Meanwhile, government has started identifying roads for urban toll gates, the first targets being Samora Machel Avenue and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo/Airport road in Harare.

Transport minister Obert Mpofu last week said urban tolling would help raise funds to finance infrastructural development and decongest city centres.

The broke government intends to complete construction of 30 tollgates by year end to increase revenue inflows that would go towards critical road maintenance.

Although urban tolling faces stiff resistance from motorists, Mugabe said tollgates have proved to be necessary for securing free road networks across the country as well as increase revenue.

“Last year, Zinara ranked in close to US$27 million from vehicles’ licence fees, an amount which was not adequate to repair Harare’s roads network therefore the tolling system both in and out of urban areas will help secure funds for rehabilitation and dualisation of roads,” he said.

He said the Zinara board is compiling an annual report which would show motorists and other stakeholders how much revenue in total was collected in the past year and how it has been used.

“On the board’s one year anniversary in August we will present a report which will show and clarify how much we have collected, at which point and what the money has been used for so that everyone is satisfied in terms of accountability and transparency,” said Mugabe.

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