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400km road rehab gives Manicaland new life

GOVERNMENT has so far rehabilitated and reconstructed more than 400 kilometres of road network in Manicaland Province under various initiatives, including the Post Cyclone Idai Recovery and Resilience Programme. 

The Government and other implementing partners have made huge strides in giving a facelift to road infrastructure in the province, most of which was destroyed by Cyclone Idai disaster in 2019. 

Some of the key projects include the construction of Nyahodi Number 4 Bridge and the 17-kilometre Machongwe-Rusitu Road which connects Chimanimani and Rusitu. 

The development also comes after President Mnangagwa, in 2021 commissioned the 23km Kopa-Jopa Road which attested to Government’s commitment to continually improve the livelihoods of Zimbabweans through infrastructural development. 

The road, which was rehabilitated premised on the build-back-better principle was completed in 14 months at a cost of $1,2 billion. 

The scope of the project includes the upgrading of four bridges from single lane low-level standard to double lane high-level standard. 

Rehabilitation of the road brought joy to the people of Chimanimani and Chipinge whose lives were devastated by Cyclone Idai in March 2019. 

Farmers would over the years watch their produce rot by the roadside, while transporters took advantage of the poor state of the road to rip-off the desperate villagers.

Recently The Herald visited some of the roads in Manicaland Province where villagers applauded President Mnangagwa and Government for rehabilitating roads under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2). 

Speaking in an interview, the Provincial Roads Engineer for Manicaland Engineer Kudzai Maganga gave a scope of other completed and ongoing road construction projects in the province. 

“In this infrastructure recovery plan, we have managed to recover a lot of infrastructure through the Zimbabwe post-Idai recovery programme. For example, Wengezi-Skyline, Skyline to Chimanimani, Charter to Machongwe, Kopa-Jopa, Machongwe-Rusitu, Marange Zvipiripiri and Birchenough to Chipinge road and these were wholly funded by the Government. Here in Chimanimani, we have this project which is an AFDB-funded project that was implemented by UNOPS,” said Eng Maganga. 

In a separate interview the United Nations Officer for Project Services, Engineer Onai Baudi also said, “In terms of the impact this bridge connects Chimanimani and Rusitu and gives you access to essential services like Rusitu Mission Hospital. The bridge is a twin concrete structure with a design life span of 50 years. We have also upgraded the Machongwe-Rusitu road from the existing gravel road to a fully surfaced road. The road has a life span of 20 years.” 

Construction of the bridge and roads in the province has come as a relief to motorists and farmers in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts who mainly depend on trading horticulture products. 

One Mr David Mbodyi said he was happy that Government quickly moved in to ensure that a bigger bridge had been constructed as they were finding it difficult to cross or drive through the small bridge which was nearby especially during the rainy season. 

“This small bridge would be flooded and we could not pass through with our small cars. We are now able to transport our produce such as bananas, avocados and pine apples to the market without any hustles,” he said. 

Another motorist, Mr Leon Munetsiyo said they had resorted to using longer routes to avoid the small bridge as they were failing to drive through during the rainy season. 

One of the farmers also said, “We were finding it difficult to cross the bridge to go to Chimanimani to sell our produce but now we are relieved that there is a new and bigger bridge.” 

The 2019 Cyclone Idai disaster left a trail of destruction in Manicaland province where road infrastructure, including bridges, were destroyed, with Chimanimani and Chipinge being the most affected districts. 

So far more than 50 000km of roads have been rehabilitated while 2 000 structures have been attended to since the start of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) in 2021.

Herald

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