Road users in Masvingo have hailed the move by government to dualise the Beitbridge-Harare highway citing that it was long overdue with many accidents attributed to the bad condition of the road.
Over the years the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway has earned itself the undesirable name, ‘the pencil thin high way of death’, as many accidents that occur on the highway have been attributed to the bad condition of the road.
Road users who frequent the highway are now optimistic that the name will soon be forgotten once the project to dualise the road begins.
Road users have often complained of frequent breakdowns of their vehicles as a result of the potholes and damaged road shoulders.
“We thank the President Cde Robert Mugabe for commissioning the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge road dualisation. We were experiencing a lot of breakdowns in that road due to its bad state, we had to endure such because of business but truth be told the road is no longer user friendly,” said some of the road users who spoke to ZBC News.
The dualisation of the road is expected to lead to a decrease in the number of accidents along the highway.
Meanwhile, most tarred roads are designed to last for a life span of about 25 years but currently the country’s roads are worn out and have outlived their design life, a situation that has resulted in the road network developing defects such as potholes, and edge breaks resulting in some of the roads becoming unsafe to motorists.
Delays in rehabilitating the road network has always resulted in high maintenance cost of the road infrastructure.
A member of the Zimbabwe Engineering Council, Engineer Mackenzie Ncube said the country’s major highways have outlived their life span with the busy highways such as Harare-Beitbridge roads experiencing complete road failures.
Villagers in Chirumhanzu hailed government for prioritising the dualisation process on the Harare-Beitbridge road which they said will significantly reduce accidents on the highway, as in its narrow state it had become a death trap that has claimed many innocent lives.
Experts have said the Harare-Beitbridge road was designed with a narrow width and gravel shoulders and due to high traffic volume and heavy trucks accident rate has risen over the years.