If you have travelled up to Kariba or Chirundu over the last year or two you would surely have noticed the ever increasing number of heavy duty trucks traversing a road that is well overdue for redesign and resurfacing. Talking to various people about the new Beitbridge Chirundu road there seems little chance that it will be completed before another 4 or 5 years. The road to Chirundu is, therefore, going to become even more treacherous over that period.
Then there is that ultra dangerous winding bit of road 15 km this side of Makuti where a small prayer is needed hoping you are not confronted by a large tanker bearing down on your side of the road as you surmount the hill and or corners as happened to a good friend of mine recently .
One answer might be for someone to talk to Zinara or the truck drivers association about limiting the times trucks can be on that road – maybe different times for each section with a truck by stop off at various places along the route. To implement it toll fees for trucks could be doubled if trucks are on the road outside of those limits.
Once more we need a lobbyist to talk to the powers that be to improve travel to Kariba – especially whilst they are redoing the road.
PS. One of our bambazonke readers sent me an email recently that included the following:
‘ ….Just back from Chirundu at 2pm, having made ‘good’ time – 350km in 4.5 hours. There was a time when one could have easily done 350km in 3.5hours. But with increased road haulage to the North, increased number of roadblocks, long 60/80km stretches through the towns, coupled with some badly potholed/rutted stretches of road (outside Chinoyi and on the Escarpment), these sorts of times are no longer possible.
Today we passed 9 roadblocks (incl 2 speed traps) along the way, stopped at 3, fined at none. To alleviate boredom, my navigator decided to count the number of 30 ton trucks we came across along the way: 254 trucks between Chirundu and Harare Drive in 4.5 hours. That’s 56 trucks/hour or about 750 lorries on any given day, travelling through 2 sets of tolls and onto the border, where more fees are levied on them. Both tollbooth operators told us that Sundays are generally slower, so one wonders how many lorries we’d have passed going to Chirundu on Thursday? ….’
So …how could we improve speed, safety and enjoyment of long distance travel in exchange for the toll fees we pay…?
a) Definitely way less roadblocks!! Every single one puts my radar on high alert, prevents travelers from enjoying their journey and put so many potential tourists off travelling this country by road. My heart really went out to those lorry drivers who get stopped such a lot.
b) Toll monies actually used to repair and improve their specific stretches of road – eg proceeds from the Harare/Chirundu stretch go to fix that specific stretch/province. Roads widened to have an extra lane to accommodate increased road haulage. It would be nice if we could see EVIDENCE of strategic road repairs and upgrades from the MILLIONS that toll fees bring in every month. It seems all we see developing are more potholes, more weeds/grasses eating up the tar and general degradation of the road surfaces. Where is that toll money actually going?