STAKEHOLDERS in Mutare have joined hands to call for the establishment of a Christmas Pass by-pass road following endless accidents at the area.
Barely a week passes by without an accident being recorded at Christmas Pass, with some of them being fatal.
In some of the cases, goods worth thousands of dollars are damaged.
A family staying at the round-about along Robert Mugabe and Kumbirai Kangai (Aerodrome) Roads which is just after the Christmas Pass is living in fear of being wiped out following the numerous accidents that have happened there.
From March 9, 2009 to date, a total of eight accidents have occurred on the family’s property.
Last year alone, two haulage trucks “flew” down the Christmas Pass slopes after brake failures and crush-landed on the said property.
Last week on Friday, a loaded haulage truck was involved in an accident just after the same round-about.
Fortunately the driver escaped unhurt.
The haulage trucks usually develop brake failure while descending the steep, sloppy and winding Christmas Pass Road before crushing.
Member of Parliament for Mutare South Constituency, Honourable Misheck Mugadza has since written a letter to Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Honourable Felix Mhona, expressing concern over the accidents occurring at Christmas Pass.
He also asked for the implementation of the proposal that was made in 1992 to have haulage trucks use the Feruka-Grand Reef Link Road into Mutare city.
Hon Mugadza said Minister Mhona responded positively, adding that the Minister intends to visit Mutare soon to assess the problem and come up with a permanent solution.
“The Christmas Pass accidents are a cause of concern for the people of Manicaland.
“We have witnessed haulage trucks being involved in accidents, leading to loss of lives and property over the years.
“As a result, I saw it fit to engage the relevant authorities, especially the Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, to appraise him on the fact that the road has become a death trap.
“We also proffered a solution of revisiting the 1992 proposal of a by-pass road which passes through Feruka into town. Haulage trucks should use that road,” said Hon Mugadza.
He added: “The country is developing very fast and we now have a high volume of haulage trucks plying the Mutare-Harare route due to the increased trade and communication between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This has resulted in the high accidents being recorded at Christmas Pass.
“I am very happy that Minister Mhona responded promptly, and said he was seized with the matter. Minister Mhona promised to visit Mutare soon and meet all stakeholders to chart the best way forward so that lives and property are saved. We thank our President for giving us ministers who react promptly,” said Hon Mugadza.
Acting Mutare City Council Town Clerk, Mr Blessing Chafesuka who visited one of the accident scenes on November 18, 2022, acknowledged the urgent need to come up with both short-term and long-term solutions to the problem.
Mr Chafesuka said: “One way of reducing the recurrence of such mishaps will be to construct a by-pass road so that haulage trucks do not pass through the Central Business District.
“Our engineers will study and assess the whole area and look into the feasibility of that as well as other means like erecting speed humps along the road.”
Manicaland Provincial Roads Engineer in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Engineer Kudzai Maganga added his voice on the need for a by-pass road for haulage trucks.