THE Bulawayo City Council will spend at least $5 million annually on the rehabilitation of its roads that are in a poor state due to years of neglect, it has emerged.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Presenting the council’s road maintenance strategy on Friday during a tour by Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Joram Gumbo to assess the state of roads in Matabeleland region, acting town clerk Sikhangezile Zhou said 70% of the city’s road network was in a poor state.
“Council proposes to maintain the minimum level of funding of $5 million per year for the year 2016,” Zhou said.
“The rehabilitation plan will involve road reconstruction 10,3 km, overlays 5km, reseals 17,8kilometres and re-gravelling 20km (10 wards, 2km per ward) at an estimated cost of $5 076 520. For the entire project council will contribute labour and plant and Zinara funds will be used for the purchase of materials. Reseals are contracted out and paid from the Zinara fund.”
She said, according to the road condition survey of 2013, $700 million was required to bring the entire network to better condition.
She said 354km of the total network requires immediate to light rehabilitations.
“Heavy rehabilitation is in the form of re-construction and overlays for sealed roads, re-gravelling for gravel roads and roads and reshaping and re-gravelling for earth roads. Reseals, slurry seals, cape seals and so on constitute light rehabilitation,” she said.
Zhou said the maintenance strategy would have a bearing on the future condition of the road network. The maintenance strategies adopted are to focus on existing network and suspend construction of new roads, prevent roads in good condition from deteriorating further, carry out more reseals and slurry seals on roads with fair condition to maintain their condition, spend funds on the basis of a ranking or optimization obtained from the Visual Condition Index (VCI) analyses and prioritise arterials, collectors and CBD roads.
She said taking into cognisant of the funding constraints, three practical scenarios were presented which are: optimistic level of funding of $25 million per year; medium level of funding of $15million per year, minimum level of funding of $5million per year. The optimistic level would clear the backlog of the roads requiring heavy rehabilitation in 10 years; medium level would clear the backlog of the roads requiring rehabilitation in 15 years while minimum level would clear the backlog in 50 years.
Zhou said the 2015 allocation for the city from the government was $899 000. To date, she said, only $448 000 had been disbursed.