Bulawayo City Council needs US$700 million to rehabilitate roads around the city which are now in a deplorable state, the local authority disclosed Monday.
In a statement BCC Corporate Communications Manager, Nesisa Mpofu, said the city’s overall road network is approximately 2 400km with 75% of its network in poor condition requiring urgent rehabilitation works.
“Approximately US$700 million is required to bring the network to good condition, and to a relatively modest road system. To increase roads in good condition by 15% (360km) in the next 5 years, a minimum level of investment of US$15 million per annum is required,” said Mpofu.
“Traditionally, government allocations through the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) and revenue accruing to Council have been the primary sources of funding for road infrastructure. Year on year, budget allocations have compared unfavourably with funding considered inadequate to maintain road network. As a result, the road network has continued to deteriorate due to the gap between maintenance requirements and funding.”
Mpofu acknowledged that following the rains, the state of the roads has further deteriorated, a development that has made it difficult for motorists to move from one point to another.
“The City of Bulawayo notes that most of its roads are in a poor state, following the rains which have been received and also due to the fact that most of the city’s roads have outlived their economic life,” she said.
“The state of the city’s road network has been declining due to a large and growing backlog of deferred maintenance programmes which is attributed to lack of funding for decades. Road infrastructure shortcomings have resulted in increased travel time, rampant potholes, leading to a decline in road safety and high vehicle operating costs.”
She highlighted that the city’s road implementation strategy for the year 2022 is to focus on existing road network and do minimum to address safety concerns, preserve those roads in fair condition and keep city’s roads trafficable.
“The Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme and Devolution funding will be used to implement this strategy, which will include premix overlay works covering approximately 18km length of road, reseal works covering approximately 20km length of road, reconstruction covering approximately 13km length of road, and upgrading of street lights and traffic signs on improved roads,” Mpofu said.
“The city has focused its maintenance programmes in recent years on public transport routes, arterials, and collector roads, roads leading to institutions and the Central Business District, while the majority of the network especially the local streets cannot be attended to due to financial constraints and continue to deteriorate.”
Mpofu said owing to recent rains, all road maintenance works have been halted due to wet ground with the exception of minor storm water drainage works and will resume once the rains subside.