Seventy-five percent of Bulawayo’s road network has outlived its lifespan with the local authority needing US$700 million to bring it back to pristine condition.
The city’s road network is 2389 kilometres with the bulk in a deplorable condition.
This was revealed by the Town Clerk Christopher Dube while responding to questions on water and roads funding strategy from the Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR).
“Pothole patching will continue till major rehabilitation works are carried out. More than 75 percent of the road network has outlived its lifespan. Approximately US$700 million is required to bring the network to good condition,” said Dube
“To increase roads to good or better condition by 15 percent (360km) in the next five years, a minimum level of investment of US$15 million per annum is required.”
The Town Clerk revealed that the City has received its quarterly share of over ZWL$15 million from Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) for the first quarter for routine pothole patching.
“The 2021 allocation ZWL$157 million of which we have just received ZWL$15 436 055 for the first quarter (received on 03/02/2021) for routine maintenance (i.e. pothole patching). The disbursed funds will produce approximately 400 tones of premix which will be utilised within 6/7 weeks. The disbursed are quarterly for routine maintenance while for periodic maintenance ( i.e. overlay, reconstruction works) are paid after the work has been carried out,” said Dube.
He also revealed that the local authority had last received a disbursement of ZWL$10 376 002 around October 2020 which they used to buy pothole patching and premix overlay materials adding that, “the funds were exhausted before the end of December 2020”.
Dube said the road network in the City has continued to deteriorate due to the gap between maintenance requirements and funding.
“The main source of funding for road infrastructure has traditionally been government allocation through ZINARA and revenue accruing to Council, year on year, the budget allocation has compared unfavourably with funding considered inadequate to maintain road networks. As a result, the road network has continued to deteriorate due to the gap between maintenance requirements and funding,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cabinet has resolved that all roads in the country be declared a State of Disaster in order to facilitate the release of funds for maintenance and repairs.