Construction work for the Beitbridge to Victoria Falls road upgrade project is expected to start shortly. One contract for a stretch of the long-awaited project is being awarded. The work will see the existing two lane road being widened and improved so that it features two lanes in either direction. New bridge crossings are also being built as part of the work and so far a budget of US$350 million has been set for the project. The condition of the 785km existing link has been criticised for its poor state of repair in certain stretches, as well as its inability to cope with traffic needs and low levels of safety for users. Zimbabwe’s roads have suffered serious neglect over several years and this route is one of several in the country in desperate need of improvements. The route connects the popular tourist destination of Victoria Falls, which is on the border with Zambia, with Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, as well as Beitbridge on the border with South Africa. Upgrading the route will help boost the imp
ortant tourist trade to Victoria Falls as well as the Hwange National Park. The highway is an important transport route for Zimbabwe as it connects with the trans-African highway.
Meanwhile construction work has commenced on some sections of the Chirundu to Beitbridge highway project, which also connects Zimbabwe’s borders with Zambia to the north and South Africa to the south. This route runs through Zimbabwe’s capital Harare and the project is expected to cost around $1 billion in all. Work on one section was delayed following questions over the suitability of one of the contractors awarded part of the project. This contract was subsequently withdrawn.