Fuel shortages hamper city roads projects

FUEL shortages have crippled Bulawayo City Council’s roads rehabilitation projects with work suspended last year.
The local authority is set to receive $20 700 000 under the inter-governmental fiscal transfers and $16 402 648 from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) for road construction programme with some of the work set to be done in-house, latest council minutes state.

BY SILAS NKALA

“Rehabilitation of Masiyephambili Road from Emakhandeni flyover to Luveve Road had been planned for this year. The reconstruction would be funded under the disbursements from Zimbabwe National Road Administration and the estimated costs of the works had been pegged at $11 000 000,” the minutes read.

The contract of surfacing sections of the roads was awarded to Bitumen World.

“The contract awarded to Bitumen World for the surfacing of several sections did not commence, as such the said sections would now require re-formation before the surfacing could be applied. The roads in question are, Maduna between Intemba Road and Ngwenya shops, Murchison between Scone and Adair, Luveve Roads, and Nkulumane roads,” the minutes read.

“The earthworks had been previously done in-house by council teams, but they were already showing signs of base failure, due to delayed surfacing. Council’s in-house teams will re-work base one (1) of the roads and surfacing will be contracted out.”

According to the minutes, the department still awaited disbursement of funds by Zinara amid shortage of fuel and other inputs needed for the work.

“Diesel, bitumen and aggregates remain in short supply hindering planned hotmix and cold-mix production at the batching plant belonging to the Transport ministry. It was expected that some sections of Masiyephambili Road and Robert Mugabe Way will be earmarked for overlays this year,” the minutes read in part.

“The 2020 Zinara allocation was $16 402 648 for road maintenance activities. Council intended to use 68,8% of the disbursement ($10 376 002) for periodic maintenance (ie overlays, reconstructions) and 31,6% ($6 026 646) for routine maintenance (ie pothole patching, crack sealing, slurry sealing, drain cleaning). Zinara disbursed $1 506 661,50 on March 10, 2020.”

The council states that under the inter-governmental fiscal transfers, $20 700 000 had been budgeted for under devolution fund disbursements and the funds would be used to surface roads that were reconstructed in 2017 and 2018, but were not surfaced.

“In addition, 2,6km of Glenville Drive sections will be reconstructed. The government had not disbursed anything by the end of the reporting period,” the minutes read.

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