WORK on the construction of the Christmas Pass by-pass 33km stretch which will also cover the revamping of the problematic Sakubva (Murahwa) Green Market Bridge is expected to commence early next year, The Manica Post has learnt.
Work is expected to be done in about 12 months.
This was revealed by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Honourable Felix Mhona, during a tour of the by-pass road site as well as Sakubva Green Market Bridge on Sunday.
Minister Mhona also toured Forbes Border Post where it was also revealed that expansion of the country’s port of entry will see the new look border post utilising space on either side of the road.
“We are happy to be here to hear the progress that has been made so far with regards to the expansion of Forbes Border Post as well as the envisaged construction of the 33km Christmas Pass by-pass road.
“We have learnt from the experts on the ground that the by-pass road’s highest point will have 17 metres of a mountainous area being cut to level the road.
“While we are working with the current traffic volume, we are also mindful of the need of the road servitude to meet future needs in the increasing traffic, thus at its final completion, the by-pass road should have eight lanes, four on each side.
“Work on the project is expected to start next year. The Christmas Pass by-pass road project also covers the revamping of Sakubva Green Market Bridge which has been a big problem for motorists in recent years.
“On the Forbes Border Post, plans are already afoot to expand the port of entry. We will be utilising the space on the part of Mutare along the way to the border to set up new world class structures,” said Minister Mhona.
Government sealed a deal with local contractor, Leengate Private Limited, for the construction of the Christmas Pass by-pass road.
In April, Cabinet announced plans to construct a 33km road to serve as an alternative route in and out of Mutare.
This was occasioned by the high number of road traffic accidents, especially those involving haulage trucks, at Christmas Pass as well as dilapidation of road infrastructure as well as congestion in Mutare Central Business District owing to haulage trucks.
The new road will access Forbes Border Post and relieve congestion along Christmas Pass Road.
The project is expected to dovetail with the construction of a new dry port to improve cargo clearance at the border post. An average of 900 trucks are being cleared at Forbes Border Post daily, which often results in long queues stretching for over 15km.
Meanwhile, Minister Mhona saidthe country’s tollgates need to be revamped by the end of next year.
“As we leave this place, I call upon the Permanent Secretary to lead efforts in ensuring that we put in place requisite policy and legislative instruments for ZINARA to start refurbishing all tollgates across the country so that by the end of 2024 they will all the revamped.
“Unwarranted procrastination and those who want to derail progress on this project shall not be tolerated.
“I yearn for close cooperation between my ministry and ZINARA towards the construction and refurbishment of tollgates, installation of cutting-edge software technologies for seamless revenue collection and passage through tolling. That will boost revenue collection and boost the road fund for sustainable road maintenance,” said Minister Mhona.