Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
MAJOR roads, flyovers and bridges, along with mini interchanges along roads in and around Harare that link with the US$88 million Mbudzi Traffic Interchange, are being rehabilitated or constructed, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona has said.
Julius Nyerere Way, for example, will be closed to traffic in the next few weeks to allow major works on the main road which runs through the city centre.
Minister Mhona said by July 31, Government is targeting to complete the VVIP pavilion at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and open up the domestic terminal and more sections of the international terminal.
“From there, we are also going to open up some of the roads that lead to the new Parliament in Mount Hampden. We have a road called Chairman Mao Boulevard Road which will stretch from Bindura Road straight to Parliament. It will have eight lanes (four on the right side and four on the left side) and all this will be done by mid-year.
“The good thing about giving ourselves targets is that we can measure ourselves. So we will be having a complete road network,” he said.
“From here at Mbudzi Interchange as we move to Chitungwiza, the contractor will rehabilitate the road to Manyame River Bridge and from there we will proceed to Wedza Road. The other road has already been reconstructed and we are gravitating towards Makoni. And from here, we are also going to have a dualisation partly towards Kuwadzana roundabout and at the roundabout we are going to have a mini interchange and then we will go straight into Solomon Mujuru (former Kirkman) Drive.”
Other mini interchanges are also going to be constructed at Rothmans, ZBC and another one at an existing bridge which will be Mbare mini interchange.
The existing bridges are also set to be rehabilitated and other roads in the city, all this by mid-year.
Government has so far injected US$45 million towards the construction of the Mbudzi Traffic Interchange, which is now 55 percent complete and is set to be completed by the end of July this year.
So far the Government has also compensated 42 out of 52 property owners at a cost of about US$14,8 million and only US$14,9 million is outstanding.
A group of 95 families that were affected are being relocated to Hatcliffe where houses will be built for them.
The US$88 million Mbudzi Interchange is at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze Road, Chitungwiza Road and High Glen Road in Harare. The old Mbudzi roundabout had been a major vehicle traffic choke-point in southern Harare before the Government committed resources to replace it with a multi-level interchange.
Some of the benefits of the project include the decongestion of the Mbudzi area by creating streamlined and efficient traffic flow and reducing transit time and accidents in the area.
Minister Mhona said most major roads in the capital will get a massive facelift.
“From the Main Post Office, maybe within a month, we are going to close from Julius Nyerere and then Sam Nujoma Street and then Nemakonde Way (formerly Lomagundi Road) towards Chirundu and we are also going to have diversion routes. So this is what we can say pertaining to the flow of traffic within these precincts,” he said.
Apart from rehabilitating roads in urban areas, Government is also targeting major roads such as the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road.
“We are also finalising a model for the Beitbridge to Bulawayo, and Bulawayo to Victoria Falls roads. You will see our contractor who is on site now, Bitumen World, moving to attend to the sections, but the way we are doing the Harare-Beitbridge Road is exactly what we are doing to the Beitbridge-Victoria Falls Road,” said Minister Mhona.
“I want to say to the people of Matabeleland and to the tourist industry that we are saying Victoria Falls is going to get connected. And you will see that in terms of the rehabilitation of the airport, we are done. So we are also going to be attending to other roads within Bulawayo province.
“We will continue with Bulawayo-Nkayi, we will also have Bulawayo-Kezi, Tsholotsho, Gwanda-Maphisa, these are some of the roads that we are also going to attend to.
“We are also seized as we speak with the dualisation and expansion of the Harare-Bindura Road where you will see us doing the Kanyemba Road into Zambia and Mozambique through a bridge that we will also be constructing”.
He added that Government is also working on enhancing and expanding the Cashel Valley Border Post in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province.