BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
GOVERNMENT says it has allocated US$4,2 million for the dualisation of the Boterekwa stretch along the Gweru-Zvishavane Highway.
A newsletter released by Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima’s office said dualisation of Boterekwa pass, which is also known as the Wolf Pass, was at the top of the province’s priority projects.
Under the plan, Boterekwa’s revamp would be finalised before year end.
“A total of US$4,2 million has been allocated to ensure that Boterekwa, also known as the ‘Wolf Pass’ is finalised before year end,” the newsletter said.
“Roads have been cited as major enablers of economic activity and national growth, while also facilitating traffic ability for various economic activities. At a time when the nation has just achieved a bumper harvest this year, roads are vital for transportation of grain to markets and movement of inputs for the coming agricultural season.”
It added that the Midlands province had embarked on four phases of road rehabilitation programmes, with the first phase involving repairing highways. The second phase, which involved gravelling and re-gravelling local roads, had been completed.
The Boterekwa road is a major highway used by passenger and cargo vehicles which pass through Shurugwi destined for South Africa, Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner.
It also connects major mines like platinum producers, Unki Mine in Shurugwi and Mimosa Mining Company near Zvishavane, with other towns and cities.
Anglo American-controlled Unki Mine uses the trunk road, whose poor state was worsened by heavy rains during the past rainy season.
Rehabilitation would give the pass a new lease of life, as it will expand the width of the road to give vehicles more space.
Currently, it is a narrow stretch of about 11km, which meanders through a sloppy terrain that has been a major cause of accidents within the pass.
Early this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Zimbabwe’s road network a state of national disaster and directed national and local authorities to work out plans to rehabilitate the trunk roads.
With potholes and damaged bridges, Zimbabwe’s long-neglected road network had become the biggest hurdle to the shipment of goods by industry and commerce.