Govt outlines road rehabilitation programme

Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Felix Mhona announced that the government has embarked on a road rehabilitation programme with the government setting aside US$400 million over the next three years.

Minister Mhona said this in Parliament, Wednesday, in response to legislators who had inquired on the measures being taken by the government to fix the country’s roads which are in a deplorable state.

MDC-Alliance legislator Lindiwe Maphosa said the roads were now a danger to the traveling populace.

“What is the Ministry doing with regards to the state of our roads, especially those that are linking cities because they are in a very bad state. The incessant rains have induced big potholes in the middle of the roads and they have become a death trap to the citizens,” queried Maphosa.

Dr Thokozani Khuphe concurred with Maphosa citing that the issue of roads should be treated as a state of national disaster.

“This is a very important question because as we speak now roads are damaged and impassable. What we would want to know and understand is what the government is doing right now to make sure that roads are being repaired.  I drove from Bulawayo this morning and there are potholes everywhere, yet no activity anywhere.  Nothing is happening.  It is a state of emergency so what is the government doing to make sure roads are repaired because tyres are bursting, accidents are happening,” said Dr Khuphe.

Minister Mhona explained that the government is seized with the second phase of the road rehabilitation programme which is meant to run for the next three years.

“This programme is going to be in four phases. The first phase is something that has to be done now and what we are doing is clearing bushes and patching potholes. There is an implementation matrix as we speak whereby within 60 days there will be ground paving and filling of potholes,” he said.

“Some common materials have been secured which include asphalt and bitumen to manage the current status quo.  We need to move with speed.  We cannot wait for the rains. The government has taken that mandate to man the roads and to address the issues so that we will not leave that mandate to local authorities. The local authorities are now seized with the prioritisation of roads needing urgent attention.  This is something that is happening immediately when we are on the ground.”

According to a roadmap unveiled by Cabinet, US$80 million will be used for emergency road works covering 60 days; US$120 million for preventive works over the next six months; US$120 million for rehabilitation and reconstruction works between six to 18 months and US$80 million for other related works spanning 18 to 36 months.

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