HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC) is still pursuing plans to change the city’s roads from tar to concrete roads.
The move is part of plans to rehabilitate the city badly damaged 6000 km road network.
In an interview, the local authority’s roads operations manager, George Munyonga, said the city was still figuring out which roads will be used for the pilot project.
The use of concrete on the roads was mooted by the city in 2016 after former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere declared the roads a state of disaster.
“We are vigorously pursuing the issue of concrete roads. The last time we wanted to conduct the pilot project of concrete roads, Lafarge had offered the cement; we now have the material.
“We still have to discuss the modalities of project because there are many damaged roads in the city which can be used,” Munyonga said.
The engineer added that council had got the specifications for the roads that they had been looking for.
He, however, said at the present moment, council did not have an option but to use tar and bitumen because of the foreign currency issues involved.
“We know we are competing with other areas that require foreign currency but we received a sympathetic ear from the parent ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for them to disburse funds for road repairs and maintenance,” he said.
HCC is currently rehabilitating its roads with the help of private contractors Bitumen World and $19 million worth of equipment bought using the $30 million multi-bank facility.
As part of the exercise, many roads across the city will be repaired following the allocation of $12,9 million by government.
“We had funds that we have rolled over from last year and they now amount to $25 million combined with council’s own coffers.
“From the requirements we need on our roads, it is still going to be a drop in the ocean but it will make an impact on our road network if we continue with the work we are doing.”
“For the whole city we are working with a five-year rolling programme which will require nearly $500 million to get the roads to the state they should be,” Munyonga said.
Most of the city’s 6 000 kilometre road network has not had any meaningful repairs or maintenance in more than 15 years and excessive rains experienced during the last agricultural season worsened the situation.