HARARE, (The Southern African Times) – For motorists, navigating a way through some of Harare’s pothole-ridden roads can be a herculean task.
Road users often times have to find their way around massive potholes which leads to costly damages to vehicles and even loss of life due to road carnages.
In order to address the challenge, the Zimbabwean government in February declared the country’s road network a state of disaster and has since embarked on a national road reconstruction blitz that has seen many of the country’s roads being upgraded or rehabilitated.
The nationwide road rehabilitation program has been applauded by motorists.
Harare resident Ronald Kaziboni said the rehabilitation of roads is a most welcome development and will go a long way in solving Harare’s traffic challenges.
“We feel much safer, and I think it’s a welcome development to see the roads being upgraded and rehabilitated, also this ensures that our vehicles won’t get damaged, and the overall safety of the public is enhanced,” he told TSAT.
Kaziboni said vehicles repairs due to bad roads had become common.
“Obviously you know that vehicle repairs and maintenance costs are actually very much significant when the roads are bad, but as we can see that the road construction has been in effect for some time now, so we are confident that those repairs and maintenance costs are going down,” he said.
His sentiments were shared by Joseph Mubwanda, a motor mechanic, who said the deplorable state of roads in Harare was leaving lasting effects on road users’ vehicles and wallets.
“If roads are in good conditions, cars will have a longer life span, which means mechanical challenges will decrease. Cars were facing mechanical challenges not because people were not taking care of them, but because the roads were in a bad shape.
“We were having traffic jams because of the state of roads, we were spending a lot of time commuting because of the state of roads. A distance of 10 km that usually takes 10 minutes would end up costing you 30 minutes to an hour, so given that roads are being rehabilitated, I am optimistic that it will save us time, and we are grateful to the government,” he said.
Another motorist, Richard Muderedzwa, said there is still a lot that needs to be done to fix roads, which have become death traps.
“We still have roads that are in deplorable conditions. We implore responsible officials to continue rehabilitating roads,” he said.
The state of roads in Zimbabwe had continued to deteriorate over the past two decades due to the country’s economic challenges.
Countless lives have been lost and some people have been left with permanent disabilities due to road accidents.
To address that challenge, the government set aside 400 million U.S. dollars to fund the rehabilitation of roads through the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Program.
Apart from rehabilitating urban roads, the government is also reconstructing and upgrading major highways across the country.
Given that roads are arteries that the economy pulses, the rehabilitation of highways is expected to lay a strong foundation for economic development.