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– Chronicle

BOTEREKWA escarpment road which is an international passage for trade and tourism in Shurugwi is set for a US$7million major facelift after the Government approved proposed dualisation designs.

The dualisation of the 8 kilometre descent on this narrow and meandering pass aptly called Boterekwa (meandering) or the Wolfshall Pass is expected to start soon bringing relief to motorists.

Built several decades ago by Italian craftsmen, the breath-taking road link has stood the test of time.

The bad state of the road has seen drivers struggle to manoeuvre safely and contributed to road carnage.

Last month a driver delivering soft drinks to Shurugwi died after he lost control of his truck which then overturned.

In March two people, a bus driver and a student were injured when the bus that was ferrying Pakame High School pupils rammed into a haulage truck at the escarpment.

Despite several accidents, most of which have been attributed to human error, it has provided passage to cargo trucks, buses and small cars which use the highway from Beitbridge Border Post to Chirundu, the gateway to Zambia the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania through Gweru from South Africa.

However, the accidents will be a thing of the past soon according to the Midlands Provincial Roads Engineer Denis Mupfurira.

In an interview after touring the escarpment, Eng Mupfurira said works for the expansion of the Boterekwa stretch are expected to begin soon after the Government approved the proposed dualisation designs, a development that is expected to reduce accidents at danger zone.

Eng Mupfurira said the project is estimated to cost in the region of US$7 million adding that it will now go for a tender pre-visit tomorrow.

“This road has been giving us problems. Where we are standing, the corner is called the danger zone as many people have been killed in road accidents,”

he said.

Eng Mupfurira said the dualisation of the road will mean that the traffic going towards Shurugwi will use the old tarmac which is going to be rehabilitated as well.

“The traffic going to Zvishavane will use a new road that will be constructed. We expect work to begin as soon as we select a contractor. The project is expected to cost around US$7million,”

he said.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima said the dualisation of the road will help improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the province as the road is an international passage for trade and tourism.

“We are happy with the commitment shown by the Government towards this road so far. This is an international road and its dualisation will curb accidents as well as improve movement of vehicular traffic. There won’t be delays caused by using one lane by motorists,”

he said.

Minister Mavima warned illegal miners accused of damaging the road through their mining activities to desist from destroying the national infrastructure.

“However, we have the menace of illegal miners around this area who have a tendency of working under this road. We are not saying mining activities shouldn’t be carried out in the country but we are saying they should be done in an orderly manner and away from infrastructure,”

he said

The Boterekwa dualisation project is part of the Government’s flagship projects being spearheaded by the Cabinet committee on emergency preparedness and disaster management chaired by the National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe.

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