2017 saw Government focus on grading the country’s national road network with gravel/earth roads to ensure that they are trafficable. A total of US$126.2 million was disbursed to Road Authorities under the Government of Zimbabwe Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) in 2017 as Government through the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development upped the ante in its quest to ensure funds are availed for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the country’s road network.
The Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) is a Government of Zimbabwe programme that was initiated to rehabilitate the country’s road network that had been extensively damaged during the last rain season.
It is the new political dispensation’s thrust for Zimbabwe to have a well-developed, trafficable and safe trunk, rural and urban road network. The general condition of most roads in the country has deteriorated due to inadequate funding for routine and periodic maintenance.
Under the Programme, Rural District Councils got a disbursement of US$17 million, achieving 61 percent of their planned road works’ programmes for the year. Rural District Councils graded 14 353 kilometres of gravel roads against a planned target of 23 390 kilometres. 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s total road network is gravel/earth roads, which makes grading a very important activity in road maintenance to ensure safe and trafficable roads. Most of these gravel/earth roads in the rural areas. The aim of grading is always to restore or maintain “road geometry,” or the necessary cross-section for a functioning gravel/earth road.
Gravel roads are usually maintained by routine blading and adding gravel where necessary, but sometimes major grading and reshaping is necessary due to prolonged wet weather or unusually heavy traffic. Significant rutting, loss of crown, and deep ditches are all circumstances that necessitate more substantial repair work. Given the maintenance backlog that has bedevilled the country’s national road network, the commencement of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme has given a new lease of life to the country’s roads. Under the Program 3 711km of Gravel roads were re-gravelled.
The District Development Fund (DDF) surpassed its planned target by grading 21 231 kilometres against its planed target of 21 175 kilometres. The DDF received total disbursements of US$22.9 million for 2017. The DDF which falls under the Office of the President and Cabinet is the only Road Authority to achieve a 100 percent mark for grading, under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme. This achievement was enhanced by the funding for the purchase of 80 motorised graders by ZINARA and disbursed to Road Authorities. DDF also achieved 100 percent mark for reconstruction and reseal were the planned 40km was attained
The Department of Roads, which falls under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development received a total of US$39.4 million under the Programme. A total of 5 396 kilometres of gravel/earth roads were graded against a target of 8 160 kilometres. Urban Councils got a disbursement of US$38.8 million which resulted in them covering 89 percent of their planned works’ under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme. However, with a specific focus on grading, Urban Councils graded 846 kilometres against a set target of 947 kilometres.
The Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme’s implementation is being co-ordinated through a Project Steering Committee (PSC), which provides policy guidance. The Project Steering Committee is chaired by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and is constituted of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the District Development Fund (DDF).