THE Mbudzi roundabout in Harare will be closed for one and half years to enable the construction of a traffic interchange to proceed with minimum disruptions.
The roundabout is at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze, Chitungwiza and High Glen Roads that feed traffic from western Chitungwiza and many old and new Harare suburbs into Harare city centre as well as the heavy national and regional traffic on the Harare-Masvingo highway.
Construction work started last year at the roundabout which had been a major choke-point of Southern Harare before Government committed resources to turn it into an interchange as the Second Republic continues to upgrade infrastructure to cope with modern demands and trends.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona gave a notice to close the roundabout in a Statutory Instrument published in a Government Gazette last Friday.
“It is hereby notified that the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, in terms of section 30 of the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18], intends to close the portions of the road described hereunder and as shown on the layout plan 1-ZW125-C167 for the purposes of construction of Mbudzi Interchange.
“The portions of the roads described hereunder shall be closed for a period of one and half years and the motoring public shall be using diversion route: Malvern Road, Forbes Road, Hopely Road and Stoneridge Road bypass Mbudzi,” said Minister Mhona.
Construction of detours is already at an advanced stage as most of the alternative roads have been tarred, giving comfort to motorists who ply the routes.
According to the Statutory Instrument, some of the roads to be closed to allow construction of the interchange include those that constitute the four legs into Mbudzi traffic circle for a distance 15 kilometres from the centre line of the traffic circle on all four legs with a road reserve of 70 metres from the road centre line and on either side.
“A portion of Harare-Masvingo road at Mbudzi, 1,5 kilometres before the centre line of the traffic circle and 1,5 kilometres after the traffic circle. A portion of Chitungwiza road 1,5 kilometres after the traffic circle going to Chitungwiza. A portion of High Glen road 1,5 kilometres after the traffic circle going to High Glen,” reads the notice.
Minister Mhona called on those who might have an objection to the closure to make representation at his office.
“The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development hereby calls upon any person who wishes to object to the proposed closure to lodge his or her objection at the offices of the Secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development, Office 90, 14th Floor or Office 72, 15th Floor, Kaguvi Building, corner Simon Vengai Muzenda Street and Ahmed Ben Bella Avenue, Harare within one month from the date of publication of this notice,” reads the notice.
In an interview yesterday, Minister Mhona said the one and half years was a contingent time frame that they will be working on.
“We can complete even earlier than that period. We have just used 18 months as a contingent period,” said Minister Mhona.
In its efforts to develop the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2030, the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has invested significantly in the upgrade and rehabilitation of the country’s road infrastructure.
Mbudzi roundabout had become a source of major inconvenience to both domestic and international travellers where delays of up to three hours during peak hours as well as traffic jams had become the order of the day.
The new interchange comprises five large box culverts, one river bridge, four grade separation bridges, mechanically stabilised earth embarkments and asphalt paved loop roads and directional ramps.
It is envisaged that the interchange will also be adorned with modern roadlights, CCTV, SATC compliant road signage and feature diversion routes to form part of the permanent works.
Construction work is being done in line with regional engineering standards and international best practices.
Funding of the project is being done through local financial institutions while the contractor for the project is a joint venture of three accomplished local road construction companies in the Zimbabwe built environment namely Tensor Systems, Fossil Contracting and Masimba Construction collectively coming under the banner of Tefoma Construction Joint venture.
Some of the benefits of the project include decongestion of the Mbudzi area by creating streamlined and efficient traffic flow, reducing transit time and accidents in the area.
The project is creating direct employment for over 700 employees and downstream activities for over 10 000 people while creating skills transfer and upgrade for the Department of Roads staff.