The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway project is an ongoing road reconstruction and dualization project in Zambia aimed at meeting Sadc standards for road networks. The project is working on the busiest major highway in Zimbabwe, connecting the country to Sadc, Comesa, and East African states.
The construction costs of the entire Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway project are estimated at US$2,7 billion and the development is expected to stretch across 971 km. It was split into three sections and there are currently five local contractors working on the project.
The three sections of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway project include the Beitbridge–Harare which will cover 570km and 8 toll plazas; Harare–Chirundu covering 342km and 6 Toll Plazas; and the Harare ring road comprising 59km with three Toll Plazas. Thus far, over 300 kilometers of the Harare-Beitbridge road have been constructed and 35447km is now open to traffic.
According to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructural Development, Joel Biggie Matiza, the project involves widening the existing lanes to meet current standards. Additionally, the contractors are also working on removing existing asphalt layers, improving the base layers, and paving new asphalt on top.
The five construction firms working on the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway project include Bitumen World, Fossil Contractors, Exodus Company, Masimba Construction, and Tensor Systems.
Reported in 2015
Major road in Zimbabwe to be constructed at a cost of US $2bn
A major road in Zimbabwe that is set to cost US $2bn is set to be constructed, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Dr. Joram Gumbo has announced.
He said that the winning bidder for the reconstruction of the Major road in Zimbabwe which is the Beitbridge-Harare and the Harare-Chirundu highway as a dual road will be announced in the coming few weeks.
Dr. Gumbo noted that the Government was prioritizing infrastructure development as it dovetailed with Zim-Asset’s target of creating 2, 2 million jobs by 2018. Other projects that are being prepared for include the dualization of the Harare-Nyamapanda highway and Beitbridge-Bulawayo and Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highways.
According to the Government of Zimbabwe, the two roads are major because they connect the country to the rest of Africa. The winning bidder for the Beitbridge-Harare and Harare- Chirundu highways would be required to subcontract with local companies for them to do 40 percent of the work.
Plans for the renovation of the Beitbridge-Gwanda road through Bulawayo to Victoria Falls road and the Harare- Nyamapanda road are also underway. Improvement of these roads will aid the economy of the country as they connect to Central and East Africa.
Minister Gumbo further noted that they are using different means to raise more funds for the roads through vehicle licensing with compliance vehicles being put on patrol to detect unlicensed vehicles.
Reported in Oct 2015
Tender winner for the construction of major highways in Zimbabwe to be announced
The tender winner of the US $2 billion construction project of major highways in Zimbabwe will be known soon. Three finalists for the dualization of Beitbridge-Harare and Harare-Chirundu highways have been submitted to the Vice President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa for consideration before the final winner is chosen.
The three were selected out of the final 12 and the VP will have to deal with it as he was responsible for the infrastructure development cluster under the Government’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
According to the Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister Engineer Michael Madanha, the government of Zimbabwe was considering a Build, Operate, and Transfer Method for the winning bidder so that the firm can recover its money.
The Senators also dismissed the Local Government, Public Works, and National Housing Deputy Minister Christopher Chingosho when they were not satisfied with the explanation he gave on what the Government was doing to fight land Barons.
Minister Chingosho indicated that the Government of Zimbabwe would not compensate anybody who lost their money to land barons as they had constructed structures in peri-urban areas. He passed the blame to local authorities for not doing enough to capture land barons.
The dualization of the major highways in Zimbabwe is aimed at boosting connectivity in the country.
Reported in Aug 2016
Zimbabwe’s Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway Project hit by graft claims
The construction of the most anticipated Zimbabwean Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway Project is now expected to cost more than US$3 billion which is much more than the first estimated cost of US$2 billion over graft claims.
According to state officials, the long-awaited dualization of the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway has been highly affected by some dodgy companies that were awarded the project and began meetings in Harare this week to seal final agreements with the government.
Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway was initially awarded to a Chinese-based firm China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) which was later blacklisted by the World Bank for fraud and corruption allegations.
The project which is being funded by the Austrian-based company Geiger International specializes in military equipment.
The project which was set to kick off in June has not yet started any sign over the same over the internal wrangles on the increase of the cost of the same. The corruption allegations erupted after CHEC was awarded the tender to carry out the project even though their mother company was blacklisted.
According to Transport Minister Joram Gumbo, the two firms that were awarded the tender are qualified as they were not directly linked to the corrupt deals.
“The Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway Project will begin as soon as possible as we are currently in talks with various contractors to ensure and the financier so that the implementation of the project can kick off as soon as possible” he added
The minister though added that the government is working under an estimate of US$2,7 billion, but the true cost of the project will only be known after the meetings which will come up with the “proper and final bill of quantities.”
“We are committed to ensuring that no single dollar is wasted over graft claims and we will work towards that” he added
The minister assured the residents that the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway Project will be implemented as soon as possible and they will ensure that the funds are well utilized.
Zimbabwe’s busy highway to be rehabilitated for $2.7bn
Chinese firms Geiger International and China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), are now set to rehabilitate Zimbabwe’s busy highway after reaching an agreement with the government. According to government officials, the two companies are expected to spell out the framework for the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu rehabilitation and dualization.
This is one of the busiest highways in Zimbabwe’s transport sector and once completed it’s expected to streamline the economy of the country significantly more so in the busiest North-South Corridor that directly links landlocked Zimbabwe and Zambia with access to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.
The Ministry of Transport added that the visibility study for Zimbabwe’s busy highway projects was completed back in 2013 and they had already established that $1.3 billion was required to carry out the projects and an additional $883 million would be needed for the link between the capital and Chirundu on the border with Zambia, bringing the total project cost to nearly $2.2 billion.
Early in June, the government under the Ministry of Transport had announced that the CHEC would be the main contractor while Geiger International an Austrian firm based in China, was named as the financier of the project.
Geiger International an Austrian firm based in China and is expected to fund the entire project. According to Transport Minister Jorum Gumbo, the agreement will see the project start in a few weeks as the funds are already available for the same.
“We have been holding talks and now we are ready to see the projects start and we believe it will change the face of the country’s transport sector once it’s completed” he added
The minister added that the country is committed to improving the transport sector which is very key to the economy of Zimbabwe.
Road infrastructure development in Zimbabwe has been stagnant in the wake of international suctions. Once a thriving nation with bespoke roads and superb airport infrastructure, today construction activities in the country are nearly dead.
Reported in Dec 2016
Dualisation of Beitbridge –Chirundu highway now set to begin
The Beitbridge –Chirundu dualization project in Zimbabwe was stalled in 2002, after a court challenge by a group of local firms (Zim Highways Consortium). The grouping failed to raise the required capital, after winning the tender, resulting in the withdrawal of the tender. The dispute between the Government and the consortium was finally resolved last year.
The project is expected to now proceed and it was confirmed that the cabinet has approved the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction agreement for $3 billion. China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), won the tender for the construction of the Beitbridge- Chirundu Highway, and the project would be financed by Geiger International, an Austrian company.
Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr. Joram Gumbo, said the EPC agreement would be preceded by a concession agreement, which would see funds disbursed by the contractor to start work on the dualization of the highway.
It is expected that the project will be carried out in 2 phases. The first section will be from Beitbridge to Harare, which will be done on Public Private Partnership/ Build Operate and Transfer (PPP/BOT) basis. This will be full dualization. The second section will be done through a loan facility. The project on the 897 km stretch from Chirundu to Beitbridge, is expected to be completed in the next three years and is likely to cost $2,7 billion.
The highway facilitates the movement of a lot of traffic between Southern and Central Africa and also facilitates regional trade. This development will facilitate the restoration of the highway as an artery and hub of SADC’s road transport network linking Southern Africa with the rest of Africa.
The highway has seen a lot of accidents due to the high volumes of traffic and dualization could be a long-term solution to the problem.
Zimbabwe Inks US$984 Deal for Harare-Beitbridge highway dualization project
The government of Zimbabwe signed a Concession Agreement and Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) framework with Geiger International. The signing will pave way for the Harare-Beitbridge highway dualization project.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr. Joram Gumbo signed on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, while Vice President Mr. Erik Geiger signed on behalf of Geiger International.
The project was valued at $984 184 592,68 and the costing was based on a feasibility study done by Stuart Scott International through an international tender funded by the Development Bank of South Africa. The study pegged the project at between $900 million and $1,2 billion and the Government of Zimbabwe felt that the cost was fair.
Construction of the road will be undertaken over 3 years and implemented under a Build Operate and Transfer arrangement running for 25 years. The scope of the work being covered includes full dualization of the road, widening, and rehabilitation of the existing road, and construction of 37 new two-lane bridges and eight toll gates.
Due to the current rainy season, road construction can only begin in earnest around March 2017. Preliminary works include mobilization of materials, engagement of local sub-contractors, and finalization of road mapping. Minister Gumbo said 40% of the value of the project would be subcontracted to local companies.
Mr. Geiger expressed his understanding of the importance of the project to the nation of Zimbabwe as well as surrounding countries. He also indicated that they had done all the background work necessary for the preparation and were ready to start work on the highway. He also highlighted that this was a high-profile project for their company.
The EPC contract for the Harare-Chirundu Road, which is part of this corridor, has been approved by Government and a Chinese firm CHEC, is expected in the country for the signing ceremony. That portion of the project will be implemented under a loan facility and this has necessitated the separation of the two contracts.
Reported in March 2017
Zimbabwean contractors skeptical over their stake in road projects
Zimbabwean contractors have raised concerns that they will not receive a 40% stake in the ongoing road projects in the country being funded by China. The contractors fear that the Chinese contractor working on the US$1 billion project to dualize the Beitbridge-Harare highway may sideline them.
Zimbabwean contractors said that they had agreed with the government to ensure that they get a share of the project stake with their Chinese counterparts which has not yet been implemented up to date.
Work on the first phase of the US$2,7 billion 900-kilometer Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway dualization project (the Beitbridge Harare portion valued at US$984 million) is expected to commence this month and players in the local construction industry have started jostling for their 40 percent share.
Speaking at a city hotel the contractors called upon the government to ensure that they keep their word in the project so that they can able to give the Chinese contractors the support they need to carry out the project.
The financier came onto the project with China Harbour Engineering (CHEC), a Chinese parastatal, as the contractor to do the actual construction work. It is this 40 percent share of the first phase of the project, valued at about US$400 million, that has caused excitement, anxiety, and animosity among the local players.
The project is among the largest construction project ongoing in Zimbabwe and the government had agreed to ensure that the local contractors get the larger share.
This is the reason why ZBCA has started forming consortiums to work on the project because if it is left to become a free-for-all affair between players, it would be difficult for individual players to negotiate viable costing structures and this would present an opportunity for some fly-by-night companies with political connections to sneak in.
Reported in Nov 2017
Zimbabwe to dualize the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway
Zimbabwe is set for the dualization of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway. The government has assured youths in Mashonaland West that they will benefit from employment created through the project expected to last three years.
According to Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Engineer Michael Madanha, although the Government has awarded the tender to a foreign company, locals are expected to play a part in other construction-related processes or as casual laborers.
“We expect the youth, especially those staying close to the highway, to benefit from the dualization process as they will be employed as manual laborers,” said Engineer Michael Madanha. “As Government, we also managed to award our local construction industry the opportunity to provide the foreign company with quarry stones and other locally available materials,” he added.
Youths at Charlie village in Nyamakate, Hurungwe, expressed gratitude for the opportunity and pleaded with Government to oversee the recruitment process to ensure an impartial process.
An expectant youth from the area, Edson Maeresa, said the Government should influence recruitment so that youths benefit according to location. “We hope Government will take part in the job allocation so that we won’t see outsiders benefiting at the expense of the locals,” Mr. Maeresa said.
Hurungwe councilor Mr. Jealousy Matesanwa urged Chief Chundu and Mr. Abel Mbasera, to oversee the process of recruitment within his jurisdiction.
Youths in Mhangura are also upbeat and they will benefit from the project. But some groups fear their businesses will be affected by the road project. For example, bartenders and shopkeepers at Lion Den’s Eleven Miles and Mapinga say they might be relocated as their workplaces are in the way of the proposed project.
Eng Madanha said the Government was still assessing how the affected people will be compensated. “We are currently assessing the impact and, for now, I cannot give details on how the affected people will be compensated,” he said.
The dualization of the highway is expected to improve the quality of the road, which has so far outlived its lifespan of 20 years by almost 35 years. The route provides passage from South Africa to countries like Zambia, Tanzania, and DRC, and is one of the busiest in the country and region.
Reported in Dec 2017
Zimbabwe concludes the Harare-Beitbridge Highway by surveying
The Harare-Beitbridge Highway surveying is done and dusted to pave way for the multi-million dollar project. The project has been awarded to an Austrian construction giant, Geiger International. The contractor has been engaged by the Government for the Harare-Beitbridge Highway project.
Geiger International has since started shipping machinery and equipment into the country ahead of the anticipated start of the project. The company will set its base in Masvingo. According to the Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr. Joram Gumbo, the government has since secured all the funds required for the project.
He said the project had been delayed by the registration processes of a company that was supposed to inject funds into Geiger International. “The project is now going on smoothly because we have signed some important agreements with the contractor,” said Dr. Gumbo.
“We had to address some modalities with the State Procurement Board and that has since been done. The financier of the project could not register their company with Geiger International to be able to send money into the country, but that has been addressed,” he added.
Dr. Gumbo clarified that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development had its problems, which also contributed to the delay, but that had since been sorted out. “As I am speaking, the company has moved all the money for the Beitbridge-Harare dualization project into the country and I can safely say the money is secure,” he said.
“The company engineers have done the surveys of the road and where they will put their machinery. The company’s base will be in Masvingo.”
The project is estimated to cost the US $1.7bn and not the US $2bn earlier reported in the media. “The Beitbridge-Harare Highway dualization will cost US $998m, which has come in the form of a loan payable for 20 years through tollgates money,” said Dr. Gumbo.
The Harare ring road will cost US $300m and will be done by a Chinese company, while the Harare-Chirundu Road will cost US $665m. Dr. Gumbo said the amount did not include the US $8m secured from Japan for the project.
Harare-Beitbridge road dualization under threat
The Harare-Beitbridge road dualization project in Zimbabwe is at risk of being canceled if contractors do not start work within the coming few weeks; amid indications that there are new senior government officials that are pushing for the collapse of the deal to pave way for their own preferred companies.
The US $1bn project which was awarded to an Austrian contractor — Geiger International was officially launched by former president, Robert Mugabe on May 18, 2017. However, nine months on, the project has not yet kicked off.
According to government sources, the project delayed is intended to give room to some top state actors who have friends in China to push for the cancellation of the tender, saying it was “expensive” and had taken long to start.
Additionally, government officials, are putting pressure on Transport Minister Jorum Gumbo to deliver on the project as well as engage the international company in a downward review of the terms of the deal.
Deal cancellation plan
However, Gumbo denied that there have been behind the scene moves to have the deal canceled and awarded to a Chinese consortium. He further confirms the new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa had put the project in its 100-day plan and wanted it to start “as soon as yesterday”.
“We are not going to cancel the tender and no one has given anyone an ultimatum, but we have just listed the project as one of the key issues that we are dealing with in the 100 days plan as a priority,” Gumbo said.
However, government sources told The Standard that the project was extensively discussed in Cabinet and had become a topical issue with ministers like Obert Mpofu and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga unhappy with the deal and the pace at which it was moving.
“There is a feeling among some ministers that Geiger was not doing well or [was not] up to standard. The pace as well as the terms of the deal is also not pleasing to some ministers who think it would be expensive for Zimbabwe.
The truth is that these ministers have their preferred people from China whom they want to undertake the project, definitely for personal gains,” said a senior staffer in the office of the president and cabinet.
The source said, during the last cabinet meeting Mpofu, who is the Home Affairs minister allegedly said “It is a very expensive project and more talks need to be undertaken to review the interest rate and the repayment time-frame,” the source said.
Mugabe officiated the ground-breaking ceremony that was held at Chaka Business Centre, where he called the highway project “an economic game-changer” with a multiplier effect on the economy.
The Harare-Beitbridge highway is the country’s busiest and most economically significant in the country as it is part of the north-south corridor that directly links landlocked Zimbabwe and Zambia with the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.
The dualization of the highway would stimulate development for the country and the region at large.
Austrian contractor, Geiger International, was last year awarded the tender for the 580km road, which will be built under the build-operate and transfer model.
Construction was expected to commence after three months after the groundbreaking ceremony but until now nothing has happened.
Besides the move to have the main contractor moved, some senior government officials also wanted local companies that had been sub-contracted in the project to be scrapped and replaced by their preferences with allegations the former first lady, Grace Mugabe had a huge say in the selection process.
Initially, the government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Geiger International in 2012 but due to the absence of a legal framework, the finalization of the deal was delayed until 2016.
Reported in July 2018
Zimbabwe to Engage Chinese Firm over Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway
The government of Zimbabwe is engaging a new contractor from China, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited (AFECC), for the dualization of the Harare-Beitbridge and Harare-Chirundu highways after it withdrew the tender awarded to an Austrian company, Geiger International.
The development follows a Cabinet directive made in March instructing the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to begin the process of terminating the contract with Geiger after interminable delays in project implementation.
During his five-day State visit to China recently, President Mnangagwa said the government had withdrawn Geiger’s tender because of endless delays. Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Dr. Joram Gumbo canceled the Geiger tender deal after having a lack of construction activity along the country’s busiest highway that links Zimbabwe, South Africa, and several other countries.
“Government canceled the agreement between Geiger International after two years of waiting and there was no proof of funding or any activity that was tangible on the dualization between Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road,” said Dr. Gumbo.
“After the cancellation, Cabinet in its wisdom looked at the urgency of that road project and decided that we consider the second bidder for that project. The second bidder is a company called Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited, AFECC, a Chinese company,” he added.
Furthermore, Dr. Gumbo said that two meetings have been held so far between his ministry and AFECC, with Government seeking a firm commitment from the company that it will complete the project.
“At the moment, negotiations are going on well with AFECC, he said. They have been providing the information that we are requesting and they are also asking questions, which we are providing answers to. All I can say is that there is progress between ourselves and the second bidder and we are hoping to conclude our discussions very soon,” he said.
Dr. Gumbo added that Japan also extended a US $21m grant to Zimbabwe for the improvement of steep gradients on the Makuti-Chirundu section of the North-South Corridor. This, he said, will reduce the final cost of rehabilitating the Harare-Chirundu section of the corridor.
“The Japanese Government availed a grant of US $21 m for the rehabilitation and improvement of the Makuti escarpment. This will cover 6.5 km and will aid in improving navigation. It will also reduce the final cost of rehabilitating the Harare-Chirundu section of the corridor,” said Dr. Gumbo.
AFECC constructed the Zimbabwe National Defence College and Longcheng Plaza in Harare, and the Golden Peacock Hotel in Mutare and intends to put up a hotel and conference center in Victoria Falls.
Reported in Nov 2018
Zimbabwe sets US $693m for Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway
The government of Zimbabwe has set aside US $693m for the rehabilitation and widening of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway over the next three years.
According to Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa who confirmed the reports, the road will be widened from the current seven meters to 12.5 meters making it at par with the N1 highway in South Africa and the Chirundu-Lusaka Road in Zambia.
Monica Mutsvangwa pointed out that the immense of the road construction will be carried out by the local contractors while government concludes negotiations with Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited (AFECC), a Chinese firm contracted to implement the dualization exercise. Sections of the road to be dualized are estimated to cost US $466m.
“The Cabinet received a briefing by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development (Joel Biggie Matiza) on progress in the rehabilitation and dualization of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, following the decision by the Government to use resources from the Road Fund while waiting for the conclusion of ongoing discussion with AFECC, a Chinese investor on the project,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
Risks along the major highway
Phase one of the road upgrade will consist of rehabilitation and widening of the existing road from the width of the current meter to Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATCC) standards of 12,5 meters. Phase 2 will entail the dualization of the rest of the sections of the road at a cost of $466 million.
The decision to commence work on the rehabilitation and dualization of the highway using local resources was taken because a lot of time has already been lost on the project and the lives of the traveling public continued to be at risk along this major highway which joins the North-South Development Corridor in the sub-region.
“To ensure value for money and high-quality work, a reputable international consultancy company will be engaged as an independent project engineer,” said the minister.
Zimbabwe seeks US $5bn for road rehabilitation
The government of Zimbabwe seeks more than US $5bn to revamp the country’s road network. This is from reports made by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank studies according to the country’s economic turn-around strategy – the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP).
Dr. Joram Gumbo, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, said that despite the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) harnessing US $250m, the funds were still inadequate for maintenance. He however said that some of the stalled projects across the provinces have begun.
Part of the rehabilitation works estimated to cost US $750m includes the completion of the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road and Bulawayo-Nkayi Road. The Bulawayo city council is targeting to refurbish 2100 km of the road network. Some of the expected changes include porthole filling, reconstruction, refilling, and resealing of major and artery roads.
The dualization of Mutare-Harare-Gweru-Bulawayo Road and Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway are some of the major projects that have already begun according to the TSP document. The Mutare-Harare-Gweru-Bulawayo Road is fully funded by the treasury with a survey team on the ground already. The implementation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu dualization will be funded by a US $21m grant extended by Japan.
Additionally, US $1.2bn is also required to refurbish the 4 500km road network in Harare. This will also cater to the expansion and construction of interchanges at major intersections of Harare Drive. TSP further targets 20km of every road in every road in every year at a cost of US $500,000 for every kilometer until completion.
Reported in Feb 2019
Zimbabwe to announce developer constructing the Beitbridge
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development in Zimbabwe is set to announce the developer who would dualize the US $350m for the Beitbridge-Bulawayo -Victoria Falls highway.
Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Joel Biggie Matiza who confirmed the reports said that, said that the developer would be announced from the list of companies that have expressed their interest and noted that ongoing works in the dualization of the highway is in progress.
The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway
The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway is a road corridor number R9 that runs to the border with Zambia and South Africa. The highway also links Zimbabwe to the trans-African Highway which runs from Cairo to Gaborone through to Pretoria, Kimberly.
Rehabilitation of the highway into a dual lane will be funded by the Government of Zimbabwe and the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) to the tune of US $350m.
Resources such as cement, quarry, and some equipment making up 40% of the construction resources will be supplied by the locals creating employment for the locals around.
Modernizing the border with Botswana
The Minister added that the Government also intends to dualize the Victoria Falls-Kazungula road as part of plans to modernize the border with Botswana which handles more than 2 000 tourists daily.
Tenders for the expression of interest were floated last year. The dualization of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road is expected to attract self-drive tourists into the country.
Additionally, Mr. Matiza disclosed that other major roads set to be dualized are the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu, Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Mutare, and Harare-Nyamapanda highways.
The government last year approved a US $175m road rehabilitation project under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) and the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).
The funds will also see some bridges being constructed, a departure from the previous administration which saw the country’s infrastructure, including roads, deteriorating at an alarming rate.
Zimbabwe sets aside US $345m for road refurbishment
The government of Zimbabwe has set aside US $345m for the construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges in the country in a move to improve the transport network in the country.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister, Fortune Chasi confirmed the reports and said that the projects will be done through the Infrastructure Development Plan that was recently unveiled to dovetails with the Second Republic’s commitment to attaining an Upper Middle-Income economy by 2030.
“The increase in traffic volumes, coupled with the poor state of the highway has resulted in congestion, increased accidents, and loss of lives and property,” said Mr. Fortune.
Road refurbishment project
The road works include an ongoing phased approach to upgrade Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, a 6,5 km stretch along Makuti-Chirundu and the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road.
“The Harare-Beitbridge highway is considered to be key as it is part of the North-South corridor linking the southern port of Durban in South Africa to other SADC and Comesa member States to the north and, hence, facilitates trade within the region and Africa at large,” said Fortune Chasi.
“We do not have contractors at the moment; however, we will fly the tenders soon so that work can commence during the first half of the year,” added the Transport Minister.
African Continental Free Trade Area
The Minister said that the government will tap US $50m from the fiscus and US $250m will come from the Zinara Zimbabwe National Road Administration( Zinara) Infrastructure Bond, for the road works. Part of the funds will also be used to compensate individuals and companies whose properties lie along some of the proposed road expansion routes.
The Deputy Minister said Government would also address the issue of traffic build-up in major cities and towns, with the Beitbridge-Harare highway being dualized 10 km in and out of administrative centers along the road.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) report published last year, Zimbabwe is among the African countries that need to improve its transport network to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Zimbabwe allocates US $150m for the revamp of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway
The government of Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) has allocated US $150m for the refurbishment of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway.
Joel Biggie Matiza, the Transport, and Infrastructure Development minister confirmed this by stating that ZINARA has disbursed US $40m for the road construction. He further added that although the budget allocated for the road is US $150m ZINARA has only received US $40m.
Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway revamp
According to Mr. Matiza, rehabilitation of the 900km highway from Beitbridge to Chirundu will begin next week and it’s expected to be complete in 42 months. “As of now, detours are being constructed to pave way for the actual road. We are going to open the detour roads to enable us to work on the highway,” the minister said.
The highway that links South Africa and other countries in the region will use local resources for construction. Mr. Matiza further stated that the project is open for foreign companies to join in the revamping of the highway.
Dualization of the highway
The project that will be done in two phases will see to the rehabilitation of the actual road before the dualization process takes place in phase two. Mr. Matiza said that the road will only be dualized 10km before the town and 10km after the town and not the whole 900km.
This is because feasibility studies showed that the traffic volumes are not sufficient enough for the project to recover its costs once the road is completely dualized. Presently, Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway receives 2 600 vehicles per day while the Harare-Chirundu Highway receives 1040 vehicles per day.
The feasibility study further said that the highway would require 6 000 vehicles daily to pay seven tollgate fees each which was considered impossible. The conclusion was to widen most parts of the road instead of dualizing it.
Currently, construction works on the Beatrice and Chivhu roads have begun under the Department of the roads
Reported in Oct 2019
Zimbabwe assigns five contractors for the construction of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway
The government of Zimbabwe has assigned five contractors to undertake construction works on the US$150m Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway.
The companies include Tensor Systems, Masimba Construction, Fossil Contractors, Exodus Company, and Bitumen World where each of the companies has been allocated 20-kilometer stretches, with room for expansion to 100km depending on their performance.
Sections of the road
The first section of the road will cover Mashonaland East Province where Tensor Systems will undertake the rehabilitation works while Masimba Construction will be responsible for road works on the section covering the Midlands Province.
According to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Joel Biggie Matiza, two contractors have been assigned to work on the Masvingo Province section. Fossil Contractors is responsible for the Masvingo-Chatsworth stretch while Exodus Company will be constructing roads in the Masvingo-Maringire areas.
Construction works for the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway will consist of phased dualization, rehabilitation, and widening of the existing road from the current 7m width to Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATTC) standard of 12.5m width, and adding climbing lanes where necessary.
The construction of the highway is expected to improve the quality of the road, which has outlived its lifespan of 20 years by almost 35 years. The highway will provide passage from South Africa to countries like Zambia, Tanzania, and DRC, and is one of the busiest in the country and region.
Roads in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean roads are managed, maintained, and operated by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA). There are 88,100km of classiﬁed roads in Zimbabwe and 17,400km of which are paved.
The density of roads in the country is about 0.23km per square km which is high compared to many developing countries; it is comparable to that of high-income, non-OECD countries and lower-middle-income countries. In addition to that, only OECD countries have a substantially higher road density than Zimbabwe.
Reported in Nov 2019
Construction of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway in Zimbabwe commences
Construction of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway in Zimbabwe has finally commenced. Five local contractors had been appointed to carry out the upgrading of the existing two-lane road as part of the first phase of the project.
This work will involve widening the existing lanes to meet current standards but the contractors will have to remove the existing asphalt layers, improve the base layers and then pave new asphalt on top. The Zimbabwe Government has secured US $150m for the project and the five firms are; Bitumen World, Fossil Contractors, Exodus Company, Masimba Construction, and Tensor Systems.
Phase II of the project
The second phase of the project will involve dualling the route. The five contractors are all carrying out works over 20km sections of the route and should their construction activity meet necessary standards, they will be awarded further packages for stretches up to 100km in length.
Boosting Zimbabwe’s Economy
In all the route between Beitbridge and Harare is some 582km in length. The route is vital to Zimbabwe’s struggling economy as Beitbridge sits on the border with South Africa and the highway carries most of the goods transported between the two nations. Decades of neglect have left the highway in a poor state, made worse by the heavy traffic.
The construction of the highway is expected to improve the quality of the road, which has outlived its lifespan of 20 years by almost 35 years. The highway will provide passage from South Africa to countries like Zambia, Tanzania, and DRC, and is one of the busiest in the country and region.
The route also has an unenviable record for poor road safety, a recent fatal crash between a truck and a commuter bus caused multiple fatalities, and serious injuries and road deaths are all too frequent. Rebuilding the route is expected to help boost Zimbabwe’s economy while also cutting the horrific death toll.