The surfacing of the main road linking Lupane and Nkayi has stopped due to cash-flow challenges and failure by the contractor to access foreign currency to purchase the material required to complete the project.

Works on the 1.5 kilometre stretch road was abandoned two weeks ago after the contractor had done 85 percent of the project.

The road surfacing project is valued at $346 000 and is being implemented under the emergency road rehabilitation phase two, which is part of the 100 day programme.

Matabeleland North provincial roads engineer, Mr Joseph Makokove said the project started on the 7th of November last year and was scheduled to be complete by the 10th of this month, a target unlikely to be achieved due to the prevailing challenges.

“All that remains is the surfacing but the contractor has been facing cash-flow challenges and also forex challenges in terms of acquiring material such as bitumen but we are engaging the contractor to make sure that we try to meet the deadline because the works that remain don’t take more than a week to complete so that we open to traffic,” he explained.

The project has however sparked outrage from the local community who felt they should benefit through employment opportunities.

However, only ten locals were employed while the rest of the jobs were heavily mechanised hence the need for specialised skills.

Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of the Tokwe river bridge along the Lupane-Nkayi highway has resumed and government has advertised for tenders to surface the 120 kilometres of gravel road to Lupane, to shorten the distance between Harare and Victoria Falls by more than 200 kilometres.