The dual carriageway linking the Beitbridge Border Post and the junction of the highways leading to Harare and Bulawayo recently completed by the Government has changed the face of Beitbridge town.
The dual carriageway project is part of the Government’s bigger plans to transform the border town into a medium city.
Civil works on the 5,1km stretch started a decade ago under the Beitbridge Redevelopment Programme, but these were progressing at a snail’s pace.
The Second Republic took the upgrade seriously and managed to complete the road mid last year after engaging Bitumen World to fully implement the project.
Bitumen World site engineer Tinotenda Hove said recently that besides constructing the dual carriageway they had built two unique traffic circles, roundabout, marked by replicas of the conical tower at Great Zimbabwe that are 6m high and 6m wide.
The dual carriageway needed to take into account the large number of servitudes for telecoms, electricity, water pipes and sewer reticulation, so construction was complex.
Motorists and other road users yesterday commended the Government for the completion of the dual carriageway using both local resources and local workers.
“Generally roads speak volumes about the state of a place or area, nice and neat roads are the first sign of proper administration and development of a place one is entering,” said Mr Kudakwashe Chasauka.
“The Beitbridge Border post to Masvingo turn off road is the preface that ushers people into our country coming through South Africa.
“It was disappointing for visitors to be welcomed and ushered in the country with that state of road considering the fact that they were just from using neat roads in South Africa. The change was just so flagrant not to notice. It somehow provided a gloomy picture about our country to our visitors.”
He said the dual carriageway had significantly uplifted the image of not only the town, but the country as a whole because its neatness was a serious sign of development in the country following years of stagnation.
Mr Chasauka said the creation of a four way stop at a busy intersection that linked the western and eastern suburbs and a shopping complex had helped reduce road traffic accidents which used to be a perennial headache at that point.
The creation of proper crossing points for pedestrians and erection of road signs, he said, was a welcome development.
Miss Thavhiso Mabidi said the upgrading of the road had enhanced the urban beautification and the aesthetic appeal of the town.
“Largely it has also improved road infrastructure which has a positive impact on property value, making the town more attractive for business,” she said.
Another motorist, Mr Zibusiso Ndlovu said the opening up of the road had helped reduce issues of vehicle congestion as they leave or enter the town.
“The old road could not accommodate large volumes of traffic. Beitbridge used to experience a lot of traffic jams triggered by trucks and small vehicles,” he said.
“With the completion of the new dual carriage road, now we can breathe. The road has enhanced the aesthetic looks of this town. It looks more modern now.
The other good thing to note is that it has standard SADC road signage. Learner drivers are enjoying the exposure than a driver in Botswana and South Africa is exposed to”.
Mr Ndlovu said there was now a need for street lights which should be installed starting from the signage which reads “WELCOME TO BEITBRIDGE” (on both Beitbridge-Bulawayo and Beitbridge-Masvingo roads) right down to the border roundabout.
This, he said, will make motorists be able to see pedestrians and animals crossing this road at night time.
“Finally something good has happened after a long period of time. If the same can be done on the other route which is Beitbridge to Bulawayo we will be very grateful as Beitbridge residents and Zimbabweans at large,” said Ms Remaketsi Mbedzi of Malala in Beitbridge.
According to Mr Gugu Khumalo, the Second Republic has done more in terms of driving infrastructure development across Zimbabwe. Road infrastructure remained the heart of any country when one measured development because many economical activities were done via roads.
“It is my wish to see the same state of the road across the country. The new road has also solved the issue of congestion along the main road since it services a lot of cars, trucks and buses coming through the border. Its duality ensures a number of cars can travel to one direction without interruption from oncoming traffic,” said Mr Khumalo.