The government of Zimbabwe has finally commissioned the first 100km of the rehabilitated and upgraded Harare-Beitbridge highway. The is a major milestone for the project which has experienced previous false starts when it was still awarded to foreign companies.
The new government under President Mnangagwa awarded five local companies: Tensor, Masimba Construction, Fossil, Exodus and Company and Bitumen World contracts to widen and rehabilitate the Harare-Beitbridge highway after the constant failures by the foreign governments. The firms were given an initial 20km stretch each along the highway.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza expressed satisfaction with the ground covered by the five firms and was hopeful the contractors would clock a cumulative 200km by the end of next month.
The 200km target
The contractors were given a target to complete 200km of arguably the country’s busiest road in terms of vehicular and human traffic this year; with the entire stretch from Harare to Beitbridge expected to be complete in 2022.
“The contractors have now covered over 100km and the 200km target by end of next month is achievable because looking at what has been covered now, it means they are now left with about 95km,” said the Minister.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira said that the upgrading of the highway was overdue as the Harare-Beitbridge highway had become a death trap owing to its bad state coupled with a sharp increase in traffic.
Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Clemence Chiduwa assured the contractors that the Government would continue prioritising the highway project in resource allocation saying a good road network was key in lowering the cost of doing business which was in sync with Vision 2030.