By Mbekezeli Ncube
BULAWAYO mayor, Solomon Mguni revealed Wednesday at least 70 percent of the city’s roads were in a bad state.
According to the city father, approximately US$700 million was needed to restore the road network to good condition.
He said current funding levels were way below the cited figure.
“The city has a total road network of 2389 kilometres with 70 percent of its total network in poor condition and requiring urgent rehabilitation works (that is reconstruction and overlays). Lack of funding has affected the current state of the road network,” said Mguni.
Economic challenges and poor management have combined to reduce the country’s roads into what is often referred to as death traps.
Mguni however said amid cited challenges, the country’s second biggest local authority was determined to restore a few of the city roads to good use.
“Despite the challenges of erratic fuel supply, limited road repair materials coupled with constant plant and equipment breakdowns, council made progress in rehabilitating roads.
“In 2019, 2.3 kilometres of roads were constructed covering Murchison road,” he said.
The mayor added, “A total of 5.5 kilometres of completed sections is awaiting surfacing. Resealing was affected by budgetary constraints while 8.4 kilometres of overlays were done on Fort Street, Robert Mugabe Way, Matopos road, Jason Moyo Street, Samuel Parirenyatwa Street and 8th Avenue,” he said.
Mguni also said there were road rehabilitations in numerous wards around the city with the help of the residents.
“5.4 kilometres of regravelling was done in Wards 10, 11, 12, 17, 27 and 29.
“The city in partnership with the community conducted 16.3 kilometres of drain cleaning, 20.3 kilometres of median cleaning and 5032 square metres of pothole patching while 26 kilometres of road marking was outsourced to private contractors,” said Mguni.
He added, “It is our hope that we will be able to meet the funding requirements necessary to bring our road network to a good condition. We will continue to use funds disbursed by Zimbabwe National Roads Administration to attend to the city’s road infrastructure in 2020 and beyond.”