Home » Governance » Govt Evaluates Tenders for U.S.$1 Billion Highway Rehab

GOVERNMENT expects rehabilitation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, one of Southern Africa’s busiest roads, to start before year end, the Financial Gazette’s Company amp Markets (CampM) has established. This was disclosed by the Transport and Infrastructural Development Deputy Minister, Petronella Kagonye in a recent interview with CampM in Victoria Falls.

Kagonye said government, through the State Procurement Board (SPB), was currently evaluating tenders for the project which had been re-flighted after the SPB had cancelled a tender awarded to ZimHighways, a consortium of local construction-related companies, some years ago. The winning bidder will be expected to improve the highway from a single carriageway into a dual carriageway. The project is expected to cost about US$1 billion.

“We flighted a tender in March this year and the response from construction companies which want to undertake the project was overwhelming,” Kagonye said. “We are currently evaluating the bids and before the end of this year, the winning bidder should start working on the project.”

Last year, the Ministry of Transport, through the Department of Roads, gave a tender to a South African company, Royal Haskoning DHV, formerly SSI Engineers amp Environmental Consultants, to conduct a feasibility study for the improvement of the highway, which is now over 40 years old.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) committed funds for the project. DBSA poured in about US$2 million in technical assistance to assess the bankability of the project. The highway is rapidly deteriorating due to increased heavy vehicle traffic. DBSA also provided funding for the rehabilitation of the Plumtree-Bulawayo-Harare-Mutare highway.

The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu hig-hway, which is one of the major links in the regional road network, is the most direct link between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It also provides landlocked Zambia access to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa. The road carries between 1000 and 5000 vehicles per day, with the largest proportion of this traffic being trucks carrying goods, equipment and machinery.

Government has also embarked on the Plumtree-Mutare highway upgrade which is being undertaken by Group Five International, one of the joint venture partners in Infralink, a special purpose vehicle government created through Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA). ZINARA has a 70 percent shareholding in the joint venture while Group Five has 30 percent.

Group Five International, a South African company which has constructed major highways and airports in South Africa, is currently working on refurbishing the 828 km Plumtree- Murtare highway which it said would be completed by year end. “We are targeting to complete all works by mid-December,” projects director, Ham Coetzee told parliament recently. The project, which commenced in 2012, is being bankrolled by DBSA to the tune of about US$200 million.

Source : Financial Gazette