Major Zimbabwe road upgrade and tolling study entrusted to Royal HaskoningDHV

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The Department of Roads in Zimbabwe has commissioned Royal HaskoningDHV (formerly SSI Engineers & Environmental Consultants) to conduct a feasibility study for the improvement of the Harare – Beit Bridge Road to determine the viability of the construction and tolling of the road.

Royal HaskoningDHV project manager Phil Hasluck explained that the study which will be carried out in association with five Zimbabwean partner firms, involves traffic studies, development of a toll strategy, engineering analysis and concept design, environmental impact scoping, economic feasibility study, financial modelling and preparation of draft project information memorandum for investors.

The Harare – Beitbridge Road is part of the trunk road network of Zimbabwe and is a part of the North – South Corridor - one of the major arterial links in the regional road network. The road is the most direct link between the capital cities of Harare and Pretoria and provides landlocked Zambia access to the Indian Ocean Ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.

 “The road carries between 1,000 and 5,000 vehicle per day with the heavier flows in the proximity of Harare. Of significance is the fact that a high proportion of this traffic is trucks that are carrying goods, equipment and machinery that are needed to support the Zimbabwean economic recovery” says Hasluck.

The road project is approximately 580km long, starting just outside Harare and ending at the Beit Bridge Border post. It is a single carriageway two lane road with numerous bridges, some of substantial size. Although well maintained in the past the road is now over 40 years old, bumpy and dangerous in some places, and is rapidly deteriorating under the increased heavy vehicle traffic. Alternatives to improve it as a single carriageway road or to add certain sections as dual carriageway will be assessed.

The anticipated cost of rehabilitating and improving the road is in excess of USD600-million, some of which will be funded as a loan against revenue from the tolls.

The feasibility project is urgently required to provide an indication of viability as interested funders - the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the African Development Bank – need to make a decision about committing funding by March 2013.

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