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Bulawayo to reclaim its yesteryear glory in road network?

By Burzil Dube

IT SEEMS messages about the pothole menace ravaging the whole country have hit the right musical chord as various municipal authorities have taken heed on rehabilitation of their road network systems.

One example is Harare City Council (HCC), which recently attended to the “highway pandemic” along Kelvin Road South in the Graniteside industrial area whose drainage system is also in the process of being repaired. Thanks to Shepherd Tozvireva whose two distinct photographs made Yours Truly’s day. These potentially award-winning photos appeared in The Standard whose snapshots showed the status of the road before the past rainy season. The second depicted its current state following improvements.

Kudos to HCC, which has in the past been on the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

The state of our country’s road network systems has been discussed extensively in the previous Travelling and Touring columns with inputs from readers who appealed to responsible authorities to take some action.

Some even applauded Howick residents in KwaZulu-Natal, who a few months ago held a fully subscribed pothole fishing tournament in Curry Post Road, one of the town’s major highways. This story appeared in last week’s column even though it happened two months ago in South Africa.

The “tournament” later goaded  the Howick municipality into some form of action and most roads in this particular suburb were rehabilitated to suit the needs of the  travelling public.

When Yours Truly last week jestingly highlighted pothole issues along Luveve Road, there are reports that the-powers-that-be at Bulawayo City Council have also been jolted into action.

It is a matter of time before this busy road is attended to by the city fathers. It would be ideal if such moves also apply to other pothole- infested roads that are scattered all over Zimbabwe’s beautiful second capital city.

Still on the state of the country’s roads, some followers of this column had come up with the idea of classifying national highways vis-a-vis how the travelling public categorise them according to accessibility.

While this sounds to be a comical engaging phenomenon, it could also play a pivotal role to jolt local authorities as they are indirectly judged on how they offer their services to all and sundry.

One reader from this country’s provincial divide, Matabeleland North, vigorously rooted for the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho highway to be awarded  the best accolade for having the worst road network.

Yours Truly may tend to agree and has on numerous occasions used this route travelling for the legendary school visits at one of the educational institutions situated between Nyamandlovu and Tsholotsho.

Claims that the road is an eyesore might be an understatement as a complete overhaul of some of its stretches needs to be implemented as a matter of urgency. The time is nigh for the powers-that-be for full utilisation of the $33,6 billion.

To the uninitiated, government recently set aside that mouth-watering amount to rehabilitate about 10 000km of the country’s roads that have been damaged by recent rains among other related issues.

In the forthcoming travelling and touring columns, Yours Truly will be analysing how local authorities would have tackled their road network issues as the $33,6 billion is gradually being disbursed.

What comes into mind is one of my favourite cities, Bulawayo, which has already identified some of its roads to be urgently attended to in terms of repairs and rehabilitation.

Yours Truly will be following such developments with keen interest in the City of Kings as it is a tourism drawcard within the two Matabeleland provinces and there is no doubt about that.

The eagle eye would be on reconstruction and resealing of the iconic Masiyephambili Drive as well as Matopos Road, which have been identified as part of its capital project status.

It has also been reported that the local authority has identified a number of overlays such as the Old Esigodini Road, and Robert Mugabe Way to Joshua Nkomo Street, among others.

All these intersections are also set to be rehabilitated in Bulawayo’s quest to regain its status, among the most organised local authorities.

In high-density suburbs, Nkulumane and Luveve roads are also set for major facelifts as well as some roads within the heavy industrial areas including Anthony Taylor Road. Yes, the one that passes along Ingwebu Breweries! Yibona Tshwala Tshwala as the beer is popularly known in imbibing circles.

These pothole issues may sound as some form of tired old songs, but Yours Truly is of the firm belief that this usually goes hand in hand with travelling and touring.

In the next instalment your local authority is on the queue for analysis and your guess is as good as mine.

Till we meet again.

  • Comments always welcome on: dubebasill@gmail.com or Twitter@DubeBurzil

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