Major rehabilitation for Beitbridge highway

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THE Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road is set to undergo a major facelift under a regional initiative, North-South Corridor, targeting five roads in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana.

The rehabilitation would be done concurrently, but in two parts consisting of the Bulawayo to Gwanda and Gwanda to Beitbridge roads.

Three regional blocs – the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the East African Community (EAC) and Sadc – are working on a North-South Corridor (NSC) to unlock the economic potential of landlocked countries in Southern and Eastern Africa.

In a notice recently, the Comesa-EAC-Sadc Tripartite said it had received financing from the Nepad's Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility toward the cost of the NSC.

It said it intended to apply part of the agreed amount for this grant to payments under the contract for the preparation of feasibility studies, detailed engineering designs and tender documents for the rehabilitation of a 200km Gwanda–Beitbridge Road section in Zimbabwe.

The services to be included under the project are full "feasibility studies for the rehabilitation of the road section, covering technical, economic, environmental and social issues in order to provide the Tripartite and the Zimbabwean government with sufficient information for decision-making on the preferred alignment and proposed rehabilitation of the road section".

It also includes preparation of detailed engineering designs, drawings, cost estimates and tender documents for the improvement of this international road along the NSC.

Expressions of interest for the work have to be submitted by 2pm today.

The project would be implemented over 12 months.

The Comesa-EAC-Sadc Tripartite said it would use the Nepad grant for the preparation of feasibility studies, detailed engineering designs and tender documents for the rehabilitation of 120km Bulawayo–Gwanda Road section.

The Comesa, EAC and Sadc regional blocs are deepening economic integration through working together on market integration, infrastructure development and industrial development.

In the area of infrastructure, the blocs want to see the efficiency and reliability of transport corridors through addressing infrastructure constraints and operational inefficiencies.

The three blocs want to harmonise policies and programmes of the regional economic communities in the areas of trade, customs and infrastructure development, and implementing these in a coordinated manner, and wherever possible jointly.

Countries involved in the NSC are Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The costs of rehabilitating and maintaining the entire NSC road network to a good standard is estimated at $9,1 billion (of which $5,9 billion is for capital investment and $3,1 billion will be recurrent costs).


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