Construction of Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway in Zimbabwe has finally commenced. Five local contractors had been appointed to carry out upgrading of the existing two lane road as part of the first phase for 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, 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 gods 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.